A: A third party claim is a lawsuit filed against the person, machine, or other object that caused your injury. For most cases of work place injuries, workers’ compensation will be the only type of benefits you can claim. Workers’ compensation laws place no blame on either the employee or the employer. Instead, they compensate the injured employee for their injuries, including medical bills and loss of wages.
However, if it can be shown that someone besides your employer or someone working for your employer caused the work injury, you may be able to file a claim against that entity. For example, if the equipment or machine that you used caused your injury, you may be able to file a third party claim against the manufacturer of the machine. You also can file a third party claim if your employer carries no workers’ compensation insurance and you can show that the injury was their fault.
A third party claim typically is handled in the civil court system, separately from workers’ compensation claims. Although employers are generally not involved in third party claims, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier can often recoup a portion of any benefits, including both medical and wage loss benefits, that have been paid on behalf of the injured worker if the injured worker settles the third party case or wins a lawsuit against the third party.
Also, if the injured worker chooses not to pursue the claim against the third party, the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier can file the lawsuit in the injured worker’s place.