In New Jersey, as in other states, when you suffer an injury at work, your first course of action is customarily to file a workers’ compensation claim for lost wages and medical expenses. In many instances, a workers’ compensation claim will be your exclusive remedy for any losses suffered. That’s part of what is known as the “grand bargain” of workers’ compensation. You don’t have to incur the cost and experience the delays that can accompany a lawsuit and, in exchange, your employer doesn’t have to face the risk of an exorbitant jury verdict.
There are, however, instances where you can still pursue damages in a court of law for a work-related injury. The workers’ compensation laws are designed to address the liability of employers and co-employees, but don’t apply to unrelated third parties. So, if your injuries are caused in part or in whole by the actions of someone other than your employer or a co-worker, you are not limited to the remedies available through a workers’ compensation claim. Such actions are known as “third party claims.”
Third party claims can arise under a number of circumstances:
- You may be injured by a tool, machine, piece of equipment or product manufactured by a third party. That product may have defectively designed or manufactured, or may have contained inadequate warnings about potential dangers.
- You may be injured in a motor vehicle accident during the course of your employment. If the other driver is not your employer or a co-employee, you can file a lawsuit for damages.
It’s important to understand, too, that if your injury was caused in part by your employer or a co-employee, and in part by a third party, you can file for and receive workers’ compensation benefits and seek damages in court at the same time.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper, P.C.
Send us an e-mail or call us at 973-993-8787 to set up a free initial consultation. We have office locations in Morristown and Newton, but will visit you in your home or the hospital, if necessary.
We take all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. You will not incur legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.