A work injury is almost always going to be covered by the workers’ compensation insurance policy of your employer, as long as there are no applicable exceptions or extenuating circumstances that prevent you from getting such coverage. This means that you won’t be able to file a Savannah, Georgia, personal injury claim against your employer or any co-workers. Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy system, so that your only remedy for compensation from your employer is through this system. Yet, there are far more cases than most people realize that are eligible for a third party personal injury claim. This means that someone other than your employer or a co-worker was responsible for your injury. It may be the manufacturer of a defective product that you used at work, for example. Or, it could be that an electrician came in and failed to appropriately handle an electrical problem, resulting in a fire or electrocution. It could even be a case where an employee who traveled from one home to another (such as a mail delivery person or meter reader) was bitten by someone’s dog.
A Third Party Personal Injury Claim in Savannah, Georgia, is Separate from a Workers’ Comp Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is often a smooth process that does not require legal representation. Yet, there are cases that are more complex and may require an attorney’s guidance. Your workers’ compensation claim could end up being denied. Fortunately, this does not impact any third party claim that you may have. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you can still file a third party personal injury claim if applicable. If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, then again, you can still file a third party personal injury claim in Savannah, Georgia.
A Third Party Personal Injury Claim in Savannah, Georgia, Can Cover What Workers’ Comp Doesn’t
Another key issue with workers’ compensation claims is that they do not cover everything that would be covered in a personal injury claim. You can only seek medical benefits and wage benefits at two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Further, these benefits only go so high and only last so long. You cannot seek compensation for non-economic damages in a workers’ compensation claim, either. So, your pain and suffering, psychological trauma, and lost quality of life are not going to be addressed.
This is where a third party personal injury claim can make all the difference if you have grounds to pursue one. You can pursue compensation for medical treatment, the rest of your lost wages and future earning potential, pain and suffering, psychological trauma, lost quality of life, loss of consortium or companionship in work related death cases, and even punitive damages if there was egregious negligence on the part of the liable third party. Even property damage can be compensated if that is relevant to your personal injury case.
What Type of Third Party Personal Injury Claim Are You Able to Pursue in Savannah, Georgia?
As long as there was actually a third party involved in your work injury, you should be able to pursue a third party
personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. But personal injury claims come in many different forms, depending on how the injury occurred and where. You might have a premises liability claim for a slip and fall injury or a dog bite on someone else’s property. You might have a claim against someone who was managing the work project but was not affiliated with your employer. This is most common in cases like construction work accidents, where there may be an architect or an engineer who is liable for the injury. If you are someone who drives for a living or who happened to be driving for a work related purpose, then you may be able to pursue an auto accident claim against any at-fault drivers who were involved in causing the injuries. In cases where your injury was caused by a defective product, such as machinery, equipment, or tools that you use at work, you may have a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or distributor of that product.
What Do You Do After an Injury at Work or Elsewhere to Strengthen Any Claims You May Have?
There are specific steps that you have to take whenever you are injured at work. These include informing your supervisor, filling out an incident report, seeking medical treatment, and filing your claim. Yet, beyond this, particularly if you believe you may have a third party personal injury claim in Savannah, Georgia, you also need to gather evidence and collect information. You need to collect the contact information of any witnesses, and also take photos of the scene of the incident. If there is a defective product, then you should ensure that it is not disposed of, as you will need it later. If it is an auto accident, get the contact and insurance information of the other driver. If it is a premises liability accident, get the contact and insurance information of the home or business owner. Then, write down everything that you remember while the accident is still fresh in your mind. All of this will help you to prove your case when you pursue a Savannah, Georgia, personal injury claim later.
How Can You Tell if You Have a Valid Third Party Personal Injury Claim in Savannah, Georgia?
If you have any suspicion that your work injury was caused by or contributed to by the negligence of anyone other than yourself, your employer, or your co-workers, then you should act quickly to pursue any claims you may have. You can pursue a workers’ compensation claim and a third party personal injury claim at the same time. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have a third party personal injury claim, or if you suspect that you may, contact the Savannah, Georgia, personal injury attorneys at the Bader Law Firm to schedule a free consultation and learn about your options.