If you sustained a work injury in Maryland, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover your necessary medical care and help pay the bills while you’re out of work. But if someone other than your employer or a co-worker caused your injury, you could also seek financial compensation through a third-party claim. A successful third-party case could provide you with more money than a workers’ comp claim alone, but only certain cases qualify.

Understanding your legal options may feel overwhelming after a job injury. But you don’t want to miss out on the chance for additional compensation if you have a potential third-party claim. Let the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Trollinger Law LLC pursue the compensation you deserve.

You can count on us to guide you through the legal system and protect your interests at every step. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Maryland.

What are the Differences Between Third-Party Claims and Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Workers’ compensation claims are separate from third-party liability claims. Workers’ compensation is a state system for assisting qualifying employees with a job injury or illness. With workers’ comp, an injured employee files a claim with their employer’s insurance provider. If the claim is approved, workers’ comp pays for related medical care, offsets a portion of the employee’s lost wages, and provides disability benefits. The injured worker does not have to prove their employer is at fault for their injury. In exchange for these guaranteed no-fault benefits, employees are generally barred from suing their employers.

A third-party claim is a personal injury action filed by an injured worker against someone other than their employer. If the worker can prove that the third party is to blame for their injuries, the third party must pay the injured employee for the harm they caused.

There are several key differences between filing a third-party injury claim and filing a workers’ comp claim after a workplace accident, including:

  • Eligibility – Anyone can file a third-party injury claim when they get hurt because of a non-employer’s reckless, careless, or malicious behavior. But in Maryland, only certain workers are eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Every Maryland employer with at least one regular employee must carry workers’ comp coverage. Still, certain workers do not meet the legal definition of an employee. These include domestic servants, agricultural workers, federal employees, and independent contractors, who are typically ineligible for workers’ compensation.
  • Burden of proof – When you file a third-party claim after a work injury, you must prove that another party’s negligent or intentional behavior contributed to your injuries. You cannot win a third-party claim without evidence that the other party is liable for your injuries. On the other hand, if you are an eligible employee, you can apply for workers’ compensation no matter who is at fault for their condition. You can even claim workers’ comp benefits if you are responsible for your injuries as long as you were not intoxicated or breaking company policy when you got hurt.
  • Types of compensation – If you file a third-party injury claim, you can demand compensation for all your losses due to your work injury. This includes compensation for economic losses like medical expenses and lost wages and subjective losses like pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation covers a narrower set of losses. You should receive full coverage for your medical expenses, but you can only recover a portion of your lost wages and nothing for pain and suffering.
  • Compensation amounts – Along with the differences in compensation types, the amount of money possible in a third-party injury claim is drastically different than a workers’ comp claim. When you file a workers’ comp claim, the value of your benefits is limited by state law and your average weekly earnings. On the other hand, third-party injury lawsuits are limited only by the at-fault party’s ability to pay them, and the value of a work injury verdict can be substantial.

Who Could Be Liable in a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim?

Nearly anyone outside your employer who contributes to your work injury could be liable in a third-party claim, with some exceptions. Common examples of liable third parties include:

  • A non-employee – A non-employee such as a customer, contractor, bystander, or motorist might be liable if their actions caused your injury.
  • A property owner – A property owner could bear responsibility for your injuries if they fail to keep their property safe and you get hurt.
  • An equipment manufacturer – The maker of a faulty piece of work equipment may be financially accountable if a design defect or a problem during the manufacturing process causes it to malfunction.
  • A government entity – Government agencies might be liable if their failure to maintain public property caused your injury while you performed your job duties.

Benefits of Filing a Third-Party Lawsuit Along with a Workers’ Compensation Claim

There are several potential benefits to filing a third-party injury claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. For one, you could recover more compensation with a third-party lawsuit, including the full value of your lost wages and money to plan for the future. Furthermore, a third-party claim does not prevent you from filing a workers’ comp claim, so you can still receive benefits while your third-party liability claim is pending.

How Much Could I Get from a Third-Party Work Injury Settlement?

There is no guarantee of how much you might recover in a third-party settlement. A skilled attorney can estimate the value of your case and push for maximum results. You could recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including anticipated future costs
  • Incidental expenses, such as travel expenses to medical appointments
  • The full value of any lost wages
  • Projected losses in future earning potential due to disability
  • Subjective losses, such as pain, suffering, and lost quality of life

Get Help from Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Waldorf, MD

At Trollinger Law LLC, we understand the difficulties hardworking Marylanders face after experiencing job injuries. We dedicate ourselves to helping those employees recover the full amount of compensation they deserve. Find out your legal options by speaking with an accomplished Waldorf Workers’ Compensation attorney today.

Contact Us for a Free, Confidential Consultation.