Q I was involved in a workplace accident that left me injured, but a third party was partially to blame—what can I do?
When you suffer a work-related injury in New Jersey, your only way to obtain compensation for your medical bills and loss of wages is through a workers’ compensation claim. This is known as exclusive remedy, and it is meant to protect your employer from employee lawsuits—but what happens when someone other than your employer or coworker was partially to blame for your injuries?
In situations where a third party shares the blame for your injuries, such as a negligent nonemployee, you will still be able to file for workers’ compensation under New Jersey law. That does not mean, however, that you cannot pursue damages from the third party to compensate you for their role in your injury—this is known as a third party lawsuit.
When your workplace injuries are caused wholly or in part by a third party, you are not limited to one remedy, or means of compensation. You will be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to obtain benefits from your employer, but many times, this may not be enough—especially when you were hurt by someone acting negligently or with a specific intent to harm you. In addition to your workers’ compensation claim, you will also be able to sue the party that injured you.
How Does a Third Party Lawsuit Work?
This third party lawsuit must be filed by you; your employer does not have a responsibility to pursue your third party claim. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to pursue punitive damages from your third party lawsuit if the case warrants. For individuals who have been seriously injured by someone acting maliciously or with gross negligence, this can bring a sense of justice to an otherwise helpless situation.
If you have been injured at work and feel that a third party was to blame, I can help you explore your options and maximize your compensation. With over twenty years of New Jersey workers’ compensation law experience, I have the skills necessary to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact me today to schedule your free consultation.