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Workers' Comp & Third Party Claims

Workers' Comp & Third Party Claims

Before workers’ compensation laws were passed, injured workers had few rights. They’d have difficulty getting their medical care covered and if they wanted compensation, they’d often have to sue their employers, which frequently proved unsuccessful. As a result, thousands of employees every year who were injured on the job would have to suffer at their own expense. So many, had no other option.

Now that all states have workers’ compensation laws in place, workers can take full advantage of this “no-fault,” system, which allows injured workers to collect benefits regardless if they were partially or fully to blame, or had zero blame.

This means that even if workers accidentally injure themselves on the job, they are protected by workers’ compensation unless the worker: intentionally tried to harm themselves or someone else, or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.

Workers’ Compensation May Not Be Enough

As wonderful as workers’ compensation is, there are two issues. One, it does not compensate an injured employee for 100% of their lost wages. Two, it may not be enough to cover all of the worker’s losses.

In South Carolina, workers’ compensation is 66⅔% of a worker’s average weekly wage, but it cannot exceed the maximum weekly compensation rate, which was $838.21 as of January 1, 2018 (latest information available).

So, if you regularly earn significantly more than $838.21 a week, that may not be enough to cover your bills each month. Not only that, but when you collect worker’s comp benefits, you waive your right to sue your employer. This is where a third party claim comes in.

What is a Third-Party Claim?

When you file a third-party claim, you file a workers’ compensation claim, and you file a claim against a third party who is also liable for your injury. For example, suppose “John” worked in construction. While remodeling a kitchen, the client’s dog attacked him, causing serious injuries. In this case, John filed a workers’ compensation claim with his employer’s insurance company, but he also filed a third party claim against the home owner’s insurance company.

Since workers’ comp does not compensate workers for pain and suffering, third party claims can be valuable resources for additional compensation. They can be filed against car insurance companies, property owners, manufacturers and so on. To learn more, contact a Columbia personal injury attorney at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr. LLC.

Related: Personal Injury Claims Against Homeowners


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