By: Laura Daly
Trial Lawyer – Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Product Liability & Sexual Assault
At Swartz & Swartz P.C., we know how devastating it can be to suffer a workplace injury. To make matters worse, sometimes injuries are so serious that they impact your ability to return to work and earn a paycheck.
Our workplace injury team at Swartz & Swartz has more than three decades of experience representing victims of workplace accidents and injuries. Because of our experience, we know that some workplace injuries can involve a third-party – somebody other than your employer whose actions or inactions caused your injury. In today’s blog post, we are going to take a close look at the legal options you have after suffering a workplace injury, paying particular attention to third parties.
Before we dive into third parties, let’s take a look at workers compensation insurance and what it means in terms of suing your employer or a third-party after a workplace injury. Massachusetts General Laws c.152, § 25A is clear that employers operating in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, and themselves if they are an employee of their own company. The requirement applies no matter the number of hours worked or the number of employees. The only exception is for domestic employees (like a nanny or caregiver) who must work at least 16 hours a week to be covered under a workers’ compensation policy.
In a nutshell, the workers’ compensation system is in place to make sure that workers are protected by insurance if they are injured on the job or contract a work-related illness. It also limits employer exposure to liability for workplace injuries and illnesses (except in cases of wilful negligence). If you are injured while on the job, this insurance pays for any reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to your injury or illness. The insurance also pays partial compensation for lost wages after the first five calendar days of total or partial disability. In exchange for the benefit of being covered by workers compensation insurance, most people employed in the Commonwealth are not able to sue their employer.
…the workers’ compensation system is in place to make sure that workers are protected by insurance if they are injured on the job or contract a work-related illness.
When it comes to third parties, it’s a different story. Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 152, Section 15, is clear that anyone injured at work is allowed to sue a third-party as long as they were responsible in some way for your injuries. It’s important to understand that filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party does not prevent you from receiving workers’ compensation. Generally speaking, third-party personal injury claims can help you recover more compensation than is available under your workers’ compensation.
What does “third party” mean? Essentially, any person or entity (other than your employer) whose negligence caused or contributed to your injuries could be liable. For example – the manufacturer of a defective machine or product; a general contractor at a construction site; or the manager or owner of the property where the incident occured.
Just like other personal injury claims, suing a third-party for a workplace injury must follow the same general rules regarding negligence. This means you will have to establish or prove that the third-party was negligent or careless, and that because of their negligence you got injured. In a third-party negligence lawsuit, if you are successful, you are entitled to 100% of your lost wages and 100% of your medical bills, even if your workers’ compensation insurance has already coved them.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a workplace injury and third-party is involved, contact an injury lawyer at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. today. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts office at (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.
Ms. Daly’s practice includes personal injury, premises liability, products liability and sexual assault. She previously worked for a well-known insurance defense firm and brings a unique perspective to Swartz & Swartz regarding the inner workings of the insurance industry.
If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.