When a worker in Pennsylvania is injured during the course and scope of their employment, he or she has the right to bring a workers’ compensation claim. The general rule is that those workers’ compensation benefits are the injured employee’s sole and exclusive remedy. A Lafayette Hill personal injury attorney from our offices will point out that an exception to the general rule might arise in the context of construction accidents. Here’s a typical scenario.
The Job Site and Accident
Carl is a carpenter at Lafayette Carpentry, and Ed is a delivery driver at Hill Electric. Although they work for different companies, they’re on the same construction site where an office building is being completed. Carl is hanging signs from an eight-foot step ladder in the building’s first-floor parking garage, and Ed is driving a Hill Electric van. Carl’s work area is marked with cones, but it’s at the corner of the parking lot’s traffic pattern. Ed comes around the corner, and he’s distracted by his phone. He drives right over the safety cones and hits the ladder that Ed is on. Ed crashes to the concrete floor and suffers a severe leg fracture requiring surgery and internal fixation of the pieces of bone. Walking is painful, and he now has a permanent limp.
Third Party Liability
There is no question that Carl is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, but under Pennsylvania law, those benefits are limited. From the perspective of a Lafayette Hill personal injury attorney, the key to this accident is that the person who caused it worked for a different employer than Carl’s employer. Under those circumstances, not only can Carl file a workers’ compensation claim, but he can file a personal injury lawsuit against Ed and his employer too. That’s what’s known as third-party liability. Unlike the workers’ compensation claim, damages in the personal injury case aren’t limited, so Carl can seek damages beyond those that are available under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws. Carl’s personal injury lawsuit against Ed and his employer is probably worth considerably more than his workers’ compensation claim.
Like in Carl’s case, there are times when Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits just aren’t enough to help an injured worker start all over again after a serious injury. If you were seriously injured at work as a result of the carelessness and negligence of a third party, arrange for a free consultation and case review with a Lafayette Hill personal injury attorney from our offices. We want to know what happened and how it happened. We’re going to answer your questions too. After that, we can discuss all of the legal options that are available to you.