Everyone knows that workers’ compensation is there to help you if you ever get seriously hurt or sick on the job. But that is not necessarily the only way to get compensated for your lost wages, medical treatment and related costs.
Kentucky law lets injured workers file third-party claims against individuals and businesses other than the worker’s employer that negligently (or intentionally) contributed to the injury. Example include:
- A delivery driver driving their vehicle in the course of their work duties who gets hit by a drunk driver.
- A machine or tool fails and injures you because of negligent manufacturing or repair.
- Workers for another contractor at a construction site fail to follow safety rules, and you get hurt as a result.
- A customer assaults you, causing major injuries.
Despite a third-party claim being related to a work-related injury, it is a lawsuit that takes place in civil court if it goes to trial. You have to prove that the party acted negligently and that you got hurt as a result. Generally, the employer is not involved, and pursuing a third-party claim does not prevent you from also seeking workers’ comp. However, your employer can try to recoup the money it spent on your workers’ comp claim out of anything you get in a settlement or trial verdict from your third-party claim.
Deciding if a third-party claim is the best option for you
This fact means you need to be deliberate about how you proceed. Is the potential compensation from a third-party claim high enough to go through the time and effort of a trial, knowing that some of what you recoup could go to your employer? This is something you should discuss with your workers’ comp attorney.