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Third Party

Third PartyMost work injuries and construction accidents involve claims for workers’ compensation. However, a third-party claim might exist if another party contributed to or caused the worker’s injuries. If so, the injured worker could file a personal injury claim in addition to their workers’ compensation claim. 

Importantly, these third-party claims can result in substantial monetary damages above what workers’ comp can offer. Read on to learn more so that you can recover full compensation after a workplace injury.

What Is a Third Party?

A third party is not a principal party to a dispute or claim. For example, a third party would not be the employer or the employee in a workplace accident or construction accident claim. The third party would be someone else who either caused or contributed to your work injury.

While you cannot sue your employer if your injury is covered by Texas workers’ compensation insurance coverage, you could sue the third party under personal injury laws.

How Do I File a Third-Party Claim in Austin, Texas?

A third-party claim is like other personal injury cases. You can file an insurance claim if the third party has liability insurance coverage that applies to your injury. You can also file a lawsuit against the third party to seek damages in court.

Examples of third-party claims include, but are not limited to:

  • The manufacturer of a defective tool or machinery that caused your injury on the job
  • A motorist who caused a car accident while you were driving for your employer
  • A contractor or subcontractor whose negligence contributed to or caused your workplace accident
  • A property owner whose negligence resulted in your injury

Texas workers’ comp benefits are limited. You do not recover full compensation for your lost wages. Furthermore, workers’ comp does not pay anything for pain and suffering damages.

However, you can receive compensation for all economic and non-economic damages in a third-party claim. Examples of damages included in a third-party claim are:

  • Past and future lost wages, including reductions in earning capacity
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitative care
  • Medical bills and expenses, including ongoing medical treatment 
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Scarring, disfigurement, impairment, and disabilities
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Long-term personal and/or nursing care
  • Out-of-pocket expenses

The amount you receive for third-party damages depends on several factors. The severity of your injuries, the parties involved in the case, the availability of insurance, and your fault for causing your injury can impact the value of your case.

Fault Is a Factor in Austin Third-Party Claims 

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. You do not have to prove fault to obtain benefits. Additionally, you can be partially to blame for causing your injury and still receive full benefits.

However, third-party claims are different. You must prove fault to establish liability for damages. The evidence must support the elements of negligence or other causes of action. Generally, you must prove:

  • A legal duty of care existed between you and the third party
  • The third party failed to act with reasonable care, which breached the duty of care
  • The third party’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your injury
  • You sustained damages because of the third party’s breach of duty

You cannot recover money for a third-party claim if you cannot prove the above elements. Furthermore, contributory fault laws apply in third-party claims.

If you are partially to blame for causing your injury, your compensation can be reduced under Texas contributory fault laws. Your award is reduced by your percentage of fault. Further, if you are more than 50% to blame for causing your injury, you are barred from seeking compensation for your damages.

Can You File Both a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Third Party Claim?

Yes, you can file a third-party claim even though you have already filed a workers’ comp claim. They are two separate claims. However, your employer or the workers’ comp insurance company may want to join the third-party lawsuit to try to recoup some of the money they paid in worker’s comp benefits.

The best way to know if you have a workers’ comp claim is to meet with an Austin injury lawyer with experience handling third-party claims.

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Third Party Claim in Austin, TX?

The deadline for filing a third-party claim depends on the type of personal injury case being filed. The Texas statute of limitations for third-party claims is the same as the underlying cause of action.

Texas sets a two-year deadline for most personal injury claims, but there could be exceptions that change the filing deadline. If you file a third-party lawsuit after the deadline expires, the court can dismiss your case. Therefore, we strongly suggest contacting our office now to avoid missing a deadline. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Austin Personal Injury Lawyers

Our Austin personal injury attorneys can explore all your legal options to recover compensation for your injury claim. Contact our law firm FVF Law today at (512) 982-9328 to schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney. We are here to help you receive a fair settlement for your case. 

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