Workers’ compensation has long replaced the old system of filing lawsuits against employers after an accident at work. This provides a statutory solution and offers greater protection to injured employees.
However, this does not mean that a lawsuit might be completely off the table following a workplace accident. If someone else was involved in your accident, it is possible to file a “third-party liability” claim against them to pursue damages. Third-party liability can extend to any individual or entity that is not your employer, such as a private individual, co-worker, the manufacturer of a defective product or even an independent contractor.
Why should you pursue a third-party claim?
While workers’ compensation benefits provide workers with the compensation they need while they recover, it does not cover all damages arising from an accident. For instance, if you experienced significant pain and suffering or emotional anguish from the injuries you sustained, workers’ compensation does not address this. Additionally, the amount of medical or lost wages benefits may be insufficient to meet you and your family’s needs.
This is where a third-party claim might come in. It is possible to pursue the full amount of damages you are entitled to through a personal injury claim if the other party’s negligence caused the accident.
Proving fault is an important part of third-party liability claims
Negligence is a significant aspect of third-party claims. Unlike in workers’ compensation claims, the other party’s fault must first be established. They must have owed you a duty of care which they breached and caused your injuries for you to claim any damages. In Maryland, the Claimant must be free of any actions that may have contributed to the accident and resulting injuries.
How much can you claim in a third liability claim?
Your claim on non-economic damages will be subject to damage caps, as defined by Maryland law. Currently, the maximum amount allowed for pain and suffering is limited to slightly over $900,000. However, the law does not place a limit on the amount of recoverable economic and punitive damages.
It is crucial to make yourself aware of the law and what to expect in your claim to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. An attorney who understands both workers’ compensation and personal injury law can help you understand your next steps.