Should I sue third party or workers comp or both on a personal injury claim?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Burbank, CA

I'm a bank employee. Bank hired third party company (with insurance) to install new machinery. I was directed by third party mechanic to test machinery. Because the machine was unfastened, it fell over, causing me to fall and causing severe muscle damage in my hand. I'm told liability should be relatively easy to establish, but am unaware of exactly how much my medical expenses will be. Do I go through workers comp, go after the third party, or both? Should I initiate both processes for now until I determine how much my medical expenses will be? Thank you in advance for your answer.

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Paul J Molinaro

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    Answered . When injured on the job in California, an employee should be covered for medical care and a portion of lost wages under the worker's compensation insurance purchased by his or her employer. Damages (money) for pain and suffering are generally not recoverable under worker's compensation insurance. Should an injured employee also feel that the injury was a result of a defective product, a negligently installed machine, or another driver's fault (the issue of suing two entities often arises when an injured worker is injured in a car accident while driving "on the clock"), that injured worker may pursue a separate suit against the "third" party manufacturer, installer, driver, etc. Some attorneys can, and prefer to, handle both claims. Others will work closely together to maximize recovery and pool resources to form a united front against the insurers and their insureds. As taking on two separate suits is much more than the non-lawyer would be able to handle on his or her own, hiring a local personal injury lawyer and worker's compensation lawyer would be advisable.

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    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito... more
  2. George Ellis Corson IV

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . WC will typically pay the medical and lost time. WC will receive all/some of that money back from the 3rd Party Insurance, and you will get the part that WC insurance does not get reimbursed. They call that Subrogation.

    We give free general concepts to be helpful, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your... more
  3. Peter Robert Stone

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . You should file a claim with your employer under the workers compensation system. In addition you should file a claim against the third party company and/or their insurance for their negligence.

  4. Michael Douglas Goforth

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . You should pursue both claims.

    The workers' comp claim is a "no fault" system where your employer will cover standard industrial benefits such as medical and temporary disability. You need only show that you were injured on the job. In the "third party" claim you will have to establish fault on the part of the company that the bank hired.

    In the third party case you may recover general damages for pain and suffering, which is not available in comp.

    Ultimately the comp carrier will have a lien right to recover benefits that it paid you. So if you recover a settlement with the third party company part the funds would go to satisfy the comp carrier's lien.

    You should contact a lawyer in your area to represent you in both claims.

  5. Christian K. Lassen II

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    Answered . Both.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  6. Pajman Jassim

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    Answered . Pursue both claims, as it is job related, but the injury was caused by a 3rd party and not part of your tasks as an employee. Our office handles such claims.

    This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between Jassim & Associates or any of its attorneys.... more
  7. Darin Laine Powell

    Contributor Level 5

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    Answered . You would have a claim against your employer for workers' compensation benefits. In addition, you would have a personal injury claim against the company whose mechanic was installing the machine if he acted negligently. Also, if the problem was caused by some flaw in the design of the machine, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the machine.
    I would initiate the workers' compensation claim asap, so as to get benefits flowing to you, i.e. medical treatment for your injuries and money if you are not able to work or are only able to work a limited amount of time.
    Part of the discovery for the other claims, i.e. obtaining medical records, can be done under the workers' compensation claim, so your costs are minimized to an extent.
    Your medical expenses should be taken care of by the workers' compensation carrier, which would help you establish part of your damages claim in third party case.
    Best of luck to you...

    THIS ANSWER WAS WRITTEN MADE AVAILABLE BY MITCHELL & POWELL A P.L.C. THE LAWYER OR LAW FIRM PUBLISHED THIS ANSWER... more

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