Third Party Claims
Accidents that happen at work, like most harmful incidents, are usually the result of careless behavior. Employees who suffer work-related injuries are often eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits but are precluded from pursuing civil claims for damages against their employers. In some instances, though, they may be able to seek compensation from other people or entities that caused or contributed to their harm. If you were hurt at work due to the negligence of someone other than your employer, you should consult an attorney to determine whether you may be able to file a third-party claim. James K. Meehan of the Law Office of James K. Meehan is a proficient Bristol County workers’ compensation lawyer who can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your harm and help you pursue any damages you may be owed. Mr. Meehan frequently aids people in the pursuit of third-party claims in Bristol County and in Plymouth and Norfolk Counties as well.Exclusivity of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act
Under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employees who sustain work-related harm are eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits from their employers. While injured workers are not required to prove the negligence of their employers in order to recover benefits, they are barred from pursuing any other claims for damages against their employers, regardless of whether their employers are responsible for their harm. In other words, workers’ compensation benefits are the sole remedy for injuries or deaths related to employment. There is an exception, however, that allows an employee to pursue civil claims against an employer that lacks workers’ compensation insurance.Third-Party Claims for Harm Suffered at Work
Workers’ compensation benefits are often insufficient to cover all of the losses suffered by injured employees. Thus, they may wish to seek compensation from other sources. While injured workers are barred from filing civil lawsuits against their employers, they are not prohibited from pursuing such claims against other parties. As such, injured employees may pursue third-party claims against anyone responsible for their harm. Third-party claims often arise following construction accidents, as multiple parties other than the employer typically work on job sites and can create dangerous conditions that lead to employee injuries. Third-party claims can also arise due to harm caused by defective products or dangerous machinery.
Although employees do not bear the burden of proving liability in workers’ compensation claims, they must demonstrate fault to recover damages in third-party claims. Typically, this requires them to prove the third parties’ negligence. In Massachusetts, negligence is comprised of four elements: duty, breach, damages, and causation, and a plaintiff must prove each element to establish culpability.
This means that the employee must first show that the third party owed him or her a duty of care. The duty owed may be imposed by a statute or regulation or the duty to act as a reasonable person would in the same situation. The employee must then show that the third party’s acts or omissions constitute a breach of the duty owed. Next, the employee has to show that the breach caused him or her to suffer quantifiable losses and link the breach to the harm suffered. In other words, the employee must prove that the harm would not have occurred but for the third party’s negligence. An employee that proves a third party’s fault may be awarded economic and non-economic damages.Discuss Your Harm with a Seasoned Bristol County Attorney
Accidents in the workplace are often brought about by negligence, and people injured by the careless acts of parties other than their employers may be able to pursue third-party claims. If you were hurt at work, it is advisable to discuss your potential claims with an attorney. James K. Meehan of the Law Office of James K. Meehan is a seasoned lawyer with ample experience handling workers’ compensation claims as well as third-party claims, and if you hire him, he will craft a compelling case in favor of your recovery of damages. Mr. Meehan has an office in Taunton, and he frequently represents injured employees in workers’ compensation and third-party claims in Bristol County and also in Plymouth and Norfolk Counties. You can reach Mr. Meehan by calling 508-822-6600 or through the form online to schedule a complimentary and confidential meeting.