If you get injured on the job in Chester, South Carolina, and your employer provides workers’ compensation insurance, you are held to the exclusive remedy doctrine. In workers’ compensation, this means that you cannot sue your employer for damages directly. Rather, you can only recover compensation through the worker’s compensation system, unless your employer has done something egregiously negligent to cause your injury.
However, there are some cases where a work-related injury also involves the negligence of a third-party, unrelated to your employer. This means that you cannot file a third party claim against your employer or co-workers. You can, however, file a third-party claim against anyone else, unrelated to the employer, as long as there is someone else whose negligence resulted in your injuries.
Chester, South Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Has Limitations
The goal of workers’ compensation is to ensure that workers have protection in the event of an injury without having to file a lawsuit against their employers. It also ensures that employers have protection from lawsuits. It also allows for an atmosphere in which nobody has to prove that their injury was caused by the negligence of another party. However, there are some limitations. For example, the worker cannot recover the full amount of their wages if they are forced to take time off of work for their injuries. Rather, they can only get 2/3 of their average weekly wage or AWW in wage benefits. Further, if there are any expenses beyond medical costs and lost wages, the worker has no resource to recover compensation from. For instance, if the employer was in a work-related auto accident, they could get their medical expenses covered and their lost wages through a workers’ compensation claim. Yet, they could not get their property damage covered through the same system.
Similarly, workers’ compensation allows for the dependants of the worker to recover death benefits if their loved one should pass away from a work-related injury. This would include the medical expenses, the funeral expenses, and the lost wages. Yet, it does not allow for compensation for such things as loss of consortium or companionship. Nobody can ever get coverage for pain and suffering or other non-economic expenses through a workers’ compensation claim. This is where third-party injury claims can make all the difference, though they are not an option in every situation.
How Do Third-Party Claims Work for Victims of Work-Related Injuries in Chester, South Carolina?
The only way that you can file a third-party claim after Chester, South Carolina work-related injury is if there is a third-party to file a claim against. This means that there must be another party involved whose negligence resulted in your injuries. If this is so, then you can seek all of the different forms of compensation that you do not receive through workers’ compensation from the third-party.
There are many situations in which this may occur. If you are unsure if you have a third-party injury claim or not, you would be wise to contact the Chester, South Carolina personal injury attorneys to find out. We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to seeking avenues of compensation for your losses. Following are some examples of how a third-party personal injury claim could arise:
Project Managers/Supervisors Outside of Your Employer’s Control – There are some situations where there may be a project manager or supervisor who is not directly associated with your employer. An example of this could include engineers, developers, and architects on a construction site. If someone like this is involved, and their negligence may have resulted in your injury, then you may have a third-party personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
Defective Products and Equipment – There are situations where you may be using tools, products, and equipment to do your job. If those products are defective in such a way that causes a work-related injury, then you can file a defective product claim or product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Auto Accidents Involving Another at Fault Driver – If you get into an auto accident while working, then you have a workers’ compensation claim. Also, you may have a third-party auto accident claim against the negligent driver.
Injuries That Occur On Someone Else’s Property – If your work involves going to other people’s property, such as a mail delivery person, a housekeeper, or a utility worker, then you might become injured on the property of another person. If the injury was cause by their negligence, such as an unattended hazard, then you may have a property liability personal injury claim against this third-party.
There are many examples of different situations that might entail a third-party personal injury claim in Chester, South Carolina. In some cases, it can be difficult to know whether or not you do have a valid claim. Nonetheless, you will want to get legal advice before assuming that you do not. Contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm for a free personal injury claim consultation to learn more.
Can You Pursue a Chester, South Carolina Personal Injury Claim at the Same Time?
It is possible to pursue your Chester, South Carolina, personal injury claim at the same time as your workers’ compensation claim. The two should not affect each other. This means that if you do not get the benefits that you are entitled to through workers’ compensation, this will not hinder from pursuing the third-party personal injury claim. Likewise, you can pursue your workers’ compensation claim regardless of whether or not you are successful with the personal injury claim. However, if you settle the third-party claim before you get through the workers’ compensation claim process, without taking the right steps this could impact the value of your workers’ compensation claim.
The Elrod Pope Law Firm Can Help You with Any Chester, South Carolina Personal Injury Claim
No matter what kind of personal injury claim you may have, the dedicated personal injury attorneys in Chester, South Carolina, at the Elrod Pope Law Firm are here to help. Call today to schedule your free consultation and learn about your rights and options under the law.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.