If you were injured in a Des Moines work accident, you may be able to pursue a third-party claim in addition to Workers' Compensation. An Iowa Workers' Compensation attorney can evaluate your case to determine who was negligent in your work-related accident and if it involved someone outside of your place of employment.
Any employee who is injured while on the job is entitled to receive Workers' Compensation benefits; however, the situation can become complicated when another party is involved -- someone other than the employer or other co-workers. This is why you should seek legal help after your Des Moines work accident.
Overview of a Third-Party Claim
Employees cannot sue their employers for injuries that occur while at work, if they accept payments from Workers' Compensation. Employers are protected from lawsuits when these benefits are paid. Even if an employer was clearly negligent and was the direct cause of your injuries, you cannot seek legal recourse against them.
However, in some cases your injuries may have been caused by another person or company who is not related to your place of employment. This may lead you to file what is called a third-party claim. A third party may be negligent for part or all of your injuries. An Iowa Workers' Compensation attorney can help in making this determination. It will depend on the circumstances surrounding your Des Moines work accident.
Liability in a Third-Party Claim
Liability for a third-party claim will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your Des Moines work accident. For instance, if you were injured while on the job, but it was caused by a defective product, then liability may be found with the manufacturer.
If you were injured while on the job at another company's site, then liability may be found with the property owner. That would mean filing a premises liability claim.
If you were driving your company vehicle and another driver ran a red light and struck you, then they may be held liable through a personal injury claim. A third party claim can become complicated and time-consuming, which is why you need the help of an Iowa injury attorney who handles both Workers' Compensation and personal injury cases.
Compensation in a Third Party Claim
Workers' Compensation benefits will cover your medical expenses and lost wages; however, you cannot receive other types of damages such as pain and suffering or mental anguish. You also cannot receive punitive damages, which relate to cases where an injury was caused by extreme recklessness or with intent to harm.
With a third-party claim, you may be able to recover damages that go above and beyond just your medical expenses and lost wages. This is important in cases where injuries are severe because there are limits on how much you can receive from Workers' Compensation. Your compensation may not be enough to cover all of your losses fully.
This is why your next step should be to speak with an Iowa Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation attorney. A qualified injury attorney can explain all of the legal options that you have available after your Des Moines work accident. Their interest is helping you to protect your legal rights and to receive the compensation that you may be entitled to.
Pursuing a Workers' Compensation claim can take time, and a third-party claim will delay it further. But it may be worth it if your injuries were severe. You may be limited in the type of compensation you can receive through Workers' Compensation only. You may have other damages that are not covered and are strictly the fault of a third party, which means you'll want to contact your Iowa workers' compensation attorney to help you file a claim right away.