While Virginia businesses are required to meet safety standards and regulations to protect their employees and create safe work environments, there are still countless workplace accidents each year. According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, there were 37,842 major workplace injuries and over 278,000 injury reports in 2022.
Some of the most common causes of workplace injuries include transportation incidents, slips, trips, and falls, exposure to harmful substances and environments, overexertion, and contact with objects and equipment. These workplace accidents cause minor to serious injuries and are costly in several ways for those who are harmed, their families, and the companies they work for. In some cases, workplace accidents cause long-term disabilities or even death.
Virginia workers’ comp provides those injured with 66.66% of their pay if they can’t work and covers necessary medical treatments and appointments, regardless of who was at fault. The employer’s insurance covers these benefits, and workers’ compensation prevents the company from being sued by injured employees. But in some Virginia workplace accidents, there is a way to recover more compensation.
At Curcio Law, our Virginia personal injury lawyers are often asked if you can file a lawsuit while collecting Virginia workers’ compensation. The answer is based on the situation, but a common requirement is an at-fault, third party.
For example, if someone not employed by the same company as you caused your workplace injuries, a third-party claim may be filed against them or the company they work for. There are a few other scenarios in which third parties may be held liable for a workplace accident, which we cover in this article
Who Could I Sue for My Virginia Workplace Injury?
The law is clear in that, in most cases, companies may not be sued by their employees when a workplace accident occurs and they’re injured as a result. That’s what Virginia workers’ compensation insurance is for. In return for providing lost wage benefits, payment of medical bills, and additional compensation for permanent, disabling injuries, employers are protected from personal injury lawsuits if an employee is hurt on the job. However, a Virginia personal injury lawsuit can be filed while collecting workers’ comp if a third party caused the employee’s injury.
The following are some examples of third parties and the situations in which they could be liable for a workplace accident:
- A business (not your employer) whose employee’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct led to your workplace injury. This has happened at construction sites because there are often employees from many companies working at the same time.
- A driver who causes a car accident when you’re driving during work hours.
- A truck driver making a delivery to the workplace and strikes an employee.
- Property owners, if you’re injured on someone else’s property. For example, if you slip and fall on icy stairs while working – not at your place of employment – the property owner may be liable for your workplace injuries.
- A defective product, such as faulty machinery, injures a worker. A product liability claim may be filed against the manufacturer or distributor in such cases.
These are just a few scenarios when someone with a workplace injury in Virginia could file a third-party claim while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The best way to determine whether or not you have a possible personal injury lawsuit from a workplace accident is to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Proving a Third Party is Responsible for Your Workplace Injury
As mentioned, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed while collecting Virginia workers’ compensation if the person or business at fault is a third party; it can help recover additional damages beyond what’s covered under workers’ comp.
For a Virginia workplace injury lawsuit to be successful, the burden of proof is on the injured employee. Generally, proving fault requires several components. The personal injury attorney handling your case must investigate what happened to gather evidence showing the defendant had a duty of care and breached that duty. This involves showing they were negligent (they failed to act reasonably), reckless, or intentionally misconducted themselves.
The next part of proving liability is that the breach of duty caused the workplace accident. Finally, an injured worker suing a third party must prove damages in a personal injury lawsuit. This process takes specific legal skills and expertise to get the most out of your claim.
If the worst happens and a loved one dies from a workplace injury caused by a third party, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide much-needed financial support for the surviving family. There’s not only the loss of an income but also significant emotional trauma and future damages they’ll suffer after a workplace fatality. A wrongful death lawsuit may ease the financial burden and give families peace of mind, but you must still prove the third party was at fault in these cases.
Third-Party Claims Are Important for Injured Workers in Virginia
Discussing your third-party claim with a personal injury attorney is important because Virginia workers’ compensation benefits are simply not enough; the effects of a workplace injury extend far beyond medical bills and partial lost wages, and a lawsuit could bridge this gap. However, many factors affect how much your personal injury case is worth, so you’ll need an experienced personal injury lawyer to successfully recover the damages you’re entitled to.
In a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, the injured employee can recover the full amount of past lost wages, future lost wages, and compensation for physical pain, mental suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, and scarring. The right attorney is prepared to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury through a third-party claim.
At Curcio Law, our Virginia personal injury lawyers are highly experienced with third-party claims. We conduct thorough investigations that provide the evidence needed to prove who’s liable for a workplace accident and fight tirelessly to protect the rights of injured workers in these situations. Contact us online or call or text 703-836-3366 to book a free consultation.
Tom Curcio has devoted his career to representing people seriously injured or killed in car, pedestrian, bicycle, and truck crashes, and by dangerous dogs, unsafe products, and premises. He works tirelessly to obtain the compensation his clients are legally entitled to so they may rebuild their lives with dignity. Tom is the co-author of the book Evidence For The Trial Lawyer, and a much sought-after speaker on personal injury, trial practice, evidence, and professionalism. Contact Tom at email@example.com.