Under Oklahoma law, if you are injured on the job, you can file for workers compensation benefits. The workers comp law allows employees to collect benefits relatively quickly without having to sue their employer. But the downside of the law from the worker’s perspective is that it bars most lawsuits against employers for on-the-job injuries. Workers comp covers your medical expenses after a job-related injury or occupational illness as well as 70 percent of your lost wages.
But can you live on just 70 percent of your wages? Under certain circumstances, you may be able to file suit against a party other than your employer whose negligence contributed to your injury or illness. This is called a third-party claim. It can give you the additional compensation you need to support your family while you are receiving workers compensation benefits.
Here is an example of a third-party claim: You work on a construction site, and you are injured by a defective circular saw. Because of the workers comp law, you can’t sue your employer. But you can file suit against the manufacturer of the saw.
Parties that are commonly targets of third-party lawsuits include:
- The owner of the property on which you are working, if the owner allowed hazardous conditions to remain on the property
- A subcontractor who negligently created a dangerous situation on the jobsite
- An engineer or architect who prepared faulty or unsafe plans
- The manufacturer and supplier of dangerously defective equipment
Do you have a case? The interplay between workers compensation and third-party lawsuits is a complex and time-sensitive area of the law. To learn whether you might have a third-party claim after a work-related injury, consult an experienced Stipe Law Firm lawyer.