New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Third Party Claims for Work-Related Injuries
Recovering Compensation for a Work-Related Injury Caused by a Third Party
Under the workers’ compensation laws of New Jersey and all other states, the system is set up as a “grand bargain.” Employers are required to either purchase workers’ compensation insurance or self-fund a workers’ compensation program. In exchange, they are typically limited in their liability, as workers must use the workers’ compensation process as their “exclusive remedy” for injuries suffered because of the employer’s negligence or carelessness. For injured workers, the potential access to immediate benefits is promoted as a benefit to offset the ability to obtain a potentially higher damage award in court.
It’s important to understand, though, that the workers’ compensation laws only cover the liability of the employer or of co-workers. The workers’ compensation laws do not restrict an injured worker’s ability to sue someone other than the employer or a co-worker for injuries caused by carelessness or negligence.
Third party claims can involve a wide range of injuries:
- Product liability claims–Claims for failure to maintain equipment generally fall under workers’ compensation’s exclusive remedy, but injuries caused by the careless or negligent design or manufacture of a tool, machine or piece of equipment are not constrained by the workers’ compensation laws. If you can show that a device malfunctioned because of the way it was designed or made, you can sue the designer, manufacturer or marketer in separate legal action in court
- Motor vehicle accidents–If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident during the course of your employment, you can’t sue your employer in court for injuries, but you can sue the driver of the other vehicle (or even your own vehicle), if that person was not a co-employee.
- Wrongful acts of independent contractors–If you were hurt by the negligence or carelessness of an independent contractor, you can seek damages in court.
Contact New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr
At the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr, we have fought for the rights of personal injury victims in central New Jersey for more than four decades. We carefully choose the cases we handle, so that we can provide the highest levels of service and personal attention to each client. We are also happy to take over your case, if your first lawyer does not seem to have your best interests in mind.