Workplace Injury Attorneys in Atlanta
When you’ve been injured at work, you have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. But, when another party unrelated to your employer was responsible for your accident, you may be able to file a third-party claim for damages.
Workers’ compensation benefits will pay for your medical care and a portion of lost wages, but it doesn’t provide for full wage loss or pain and suffering. A different type of case has the potential to accomplish this.
After a workplace injury or death, your world has been irrevocably changed. There are several instances in which you might have a third-party case which will allow you to maximize the compensation that you and your loved ones receive.
Contact the accident attorneys at Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your legal options. We never charge a fee for representing you unless you receive compensation.
Steps to Take after You are Injured on the Job
When someone gets hurt in the workplace, there are several steps that should be taken after the injury occurs:
- Get to Safety
This step applies to accidents that occur in the workplace that may leave the injured worker in a vulnerable position. When this happens, the worker and/or those who witness the event should call for help and do everything possible to get the worker to safety. For example, if a worker gets hurt in a high-traffic area, they may need to be moved to an out of the way place that is quieter and easier to address their injuries.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If this is a workplace accident, emergency treatment may be required, especially if the injury appears to be life-threatening. Call for medical help right away to treat the injury. If this is a repetitive injury or illness that comes on over time, you should also get medical treatment as soon as you become aware of the physical condition you are experiencing.
- Report Your Injury
Regardless of how your injury occurred, it is very important that you report it to your supervisor as soon as possible by following their internal procedures. Georgia law requires that you report the injury within 30 days following a workplace accident in order to receive workers’ compensation, but you should report it sooner than that so it is on record with your employer, and so that you can get your workers’ comp claim started.
- Keep Detailed Records of the Injury
In addition to reporting the injury to your employer, you should keep your own records as well. You will need this documentation in order to help ensure that you receive the correct amount of workers’ compensation. You will also want detailed records in case you end up filing a legal claim against a negligent party.
If this was a workplace accident, take multiple photos of the accident scene from various angles to show what happened. If you are physically unable to do this, have someone else take photos for you. Soon after the injury occurs, take detailed notes about what happened while everything is fresh in your mind. If there are any witnesses, get statements from them as well.
Keep track of all of the time you have missed from work, and all of the expenses you have incurred because of the injury. It would also be wise to keep a daily journal describing your injuries, the pain you are experiencing because of it, and how you are coping with it.
- Contact an Experienced Workplace Injury Attorney
Whatever the circumstances of your workplace injury, it is always a good idea to speak to an attorney about it as soon as possible. It might be that the only way to obtain reimbursement in your case is through workers’ compensation. However, if the injury resulted from someone else’s negligence or reckless actions, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the responsible party, which would allow you to recover damages for noneconomic losses (like pain and suffering) that are not available through workers’ comp.
Other Benefits After a Workplace Accident
The workers’ compensation system prevents you from suing your employer after a work-related injury. However, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for additional damages in some situations.
Depending on the nature of your accident and who was responsible, you might have a case against a third-party. This is someone that isn’t your employer that was either entirely or partially responsible for your injuries. Examples of third parties that we have pursued on behalf of clients include:
- Equipment manufacturers
- Construction site owners
- General contractors
- Negligent drivers
One of the benefits of pursuing a third-party claim is that it gives you access to additional benefits, such as pain and suffering. If you believe that you might have a case against another party, our personal injury attorneys will investigate your situation and outline your options.
Here are some examples of scenarios in which an outside party may be liable for a work-related injury:
- Motor Vehicle Accident: A worker who is injured in an auto accident while on the clock can file a claim against the other driver as long as the worker is not more than 49% at fault for the accident.
- Accident Caused by a Subcontractor: If a workplace injury is caused by a subcontractor who is working alongside the employee, a lawsuit could be filed against the subcontractor. This type of situation is especially common on construction job sites.
- Accident caused by Dangerous or Defective Products/Equipment: Sometimes, faulty products or equipment could be to blame for a workplace accident and subsequent injury. For example, defective machinery that malfunctions and injures an employee. When this happens, a lawsuit could be filed against the designer, manufacturer, or distributor of the faulty product under the legal theory known as “product liability”.
- Premises Liability Accident: There are some employees who spend time outside of their workplace to attend business meetings, trainings, meetings with clients, and other work-related events. If they should suffer injury from a slip and fall accident or a similar incident and it can be shown that the injury was caused by the property owner or caretaker’s negligence, they may have a viable premises liability claim against the responsible party.
Establishing Grounds for a Third-Party Lawsuit
Workers’ compensation works on a no-fault basis, meaning your claim should be valid regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This isn’t the case with a third-party lawsuit, where you’ll have to show that someone other than your employer was negligent. When you file your lawsuit, you’ll need to prove:
- You had a workplace accident;
- The third-party owed you a duty of care;
- The third-party failed in their duty;
- You sustained injuries and/or other damages; and
- The workplace accident caused your injuries.
This sounds like a lot to prove, but you and your Bailey Javins & Carter workplace injury attorney will essentially need to show that, if not for a situation created by a third-party, you would not have been injured.
Common Workplace Accidents Caused by Third Parties
Unlike a typical workers’ compensation claim, where you’re only able to recover your direct medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages, you have the opportunity to recover all of your lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages through a third-party lawsuit.
Some common factors that may allow a third-party lawsuit after a workplace accident include:
General Contractors are responsible for safety conditions on a job site. If you’re working for a subcontractor and are injured at work, you might have a third-party case against the General Contractor.
If you were injured on someone else’s property (not your employer’s), you could have a third-party lawsuit for damages against the property owner or manager. Some examples of premises liability issues that can involve a worker include:
- broken stairways
- slippery walkways
- poor lighting
- falling objects
- dangerous animals
Construction, manufacturing, and factory workers are often required to work with heavy equipment and machinery, especially power linemen. Sometimes construction workers are injured using scaffolding. Other times workers are injured while digging trenches, or even doing highway construction. It’s essential that these items work as intended so that they don’t create a serious threat of injury or death.
When a worker is injured by one of these products that was either defective or faulty, they may be able to file a separate lawsuit against the product’s designer or manufacturer.
An injury involving toxic substances always has the potential for a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer. These substances can include asbestos, lead-based paint, poisonous fumes, and other items that can cause serious injury.
When a third party is involved in your workplace accident, you don’t have to choose between a lawsuit and workers’ compensation benefits. However, you would not be able to “double-dip” for certain damages such as lost wages.
Protecting Your Rights to File a Third-Party Claim
When you’ve been injured at work, you’ll likely get automatic access to workers’ compensation benefits. But this doesn’t mean that you are receiving everything you are entitled to, and there are some ways that an insurance company could jeopardize your rights.
The initial claims process could have an impact on your ability to pursue a third party, which is why it’s always a good idea to speak with an attorney after a workplace injury. Unfortunately, many of the parties that should be held accountable for workplace accidents may not be obvious and might even attempt to cover up evidence of the events.
When you work with us, we launch an immediate investigation into your accident and take steps to secure any evidence necessary to support your case. There may be existing contracts in which the negligent party has already agreed to be responsible for injuries. We’ll seek a court order when necessary to access the area and have our team of seasoned investigators locate any witnesses.
Speak With a Qualified Atlanta Workplace Accident Attorney
Georgia’s legal system can be difficult to navigate without the assistance of an experienced workplace injury attorney. After you’ve been in an accident, you already have enough on your plate. Whether your employer is cooperating with your claim or giving you pushback, there’s a good chance you are entitled to more benefits that you’re currently receiving.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we have been representing the rights of injured workers and their families for over 40 years. You are entitled to an attorney after being injured at work, and our lawyers have the skills to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve from every available source.
For cases in the Atlanta and surrounding area, contact our office today at 678-981-5370 or reach out to us online to schedule your free consultation.