Third-Party Liability Claims
Workers who are injured on the job are often eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ Compensation is a helpful resource for workers who may be facing costly medical bills and lost wages following a workplace injury. There are numerous factors that may contribute to a workplace accident or injury. If your injury was caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness and it was not your employer, you may be able to pursue a third-party liability claim to recover additional compensation for your suffering.
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation laws in South Carolina are designed to be fair to both injured employees and their employers. When a worker suffers an injury in the workplace or while performing their job-related tasks, employers are required to pay out benefits to cover medical costs and a portion of lost wages. These benefits are no fault, which means workers do not have to prove that the employer was negligent or at fault to receive these benefits and vice versa.
Workers’ Compensation is an exclusive remedy system in South Carolina. This means that employees cannot pursue legal action against their employer or coworkers outside of obtaining Workers’ Compensation. Injured workers cannot sue employers to receive the full amount of their lost wages or recover compensation for damages such as pain and suffering. Death benefits for the families of employees who suffer fatal injuries are also severely limited under this system.
Who Can Be Held Responsible and Liable
In some cases, there may be another party involved whose actions directly resulted in a workplace injury, such as:
- Non-employer supervisors – contractors that are not directly employed by the company but serve in a supervisory role, such as engineers, designers, architects, or other project managers, can be held liable for injuries that occur under their supervision.
- Equipment manufacturers, distributors, or sellers – if the equipment required to do the job is defective in some way, it can cause serious injury.
- Outside vendors – even in non-supervisory roles, outside contractors who behave negligently on a worksite can cause injuries.
- Public utility providers – workers who interact with electrical or gas lines may face additional risks if those lines are damaged in any way.
- Drivers – if a worker is injured in a motor vehicle accident while on the job, he or she may be able to sue the driver who caused the accident.
There are many other circumstances in which a third party can cause a work-related injury. Construction accidents are a common type of case in which third-party liability may exist.
Filing a Claim
To successfully argue a third-party liability claim, the plaintiff must be able to establish that the third party was in some way responsible for the worker’s safety and failed to fulfill that responsibility. Furthermore, the damages suffered by the worker must be a direct result of the failure of the third party to be liable. It is important to maintain thorough documentation of the injury and ensuing medical treatments. Workers must file claims in a timely manner as required by state law.
In some cases, the victim’s insurer may cover the cost of medical treatment, even if a third party was responsible for the injury. The insurer may then file a third-party claim themselves to be reimbursed for those payouts, if the victim does not do so themselves. While insurance companies may have more resources in pursuing a claim, they would also have more control over the proceedings and could have a lien on the recovered funds until their losses are recouped. Consulting an experienced lawyer can help determine what course of action is right for your case.
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden Provide Comprehensive Representation to Workers Injured by Third Parties
If you or a loved one has suffered from a workplace injury, call the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A. Our knowledgeable lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine if negligence by a third party or parties was a factor in your injury. We understand the complexities of Workers’ Compensation laws in South Carolina, and we will fight tirelessly to win you the compensation you deserve for your suffering.
With six convenient locations throughout the state, we help injured workers all over South Carolina, including the communities of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyer.