What Happens When Other People Cause Your Work Injuries?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon May 2016
- Work Injury,Workers Compensation,
Who caused your work injuries? We guarantee you that this is something that the workers’ compensation company will be looking at when they evaluate your case. They have some very important reasons for doing so. As personal injury lawyers, it’s crucial that we know as well. Let’s find out why.
Stella Materna worked for a local private school bus company. She was an aide on the bus. Unfortunately, the bus was involved in an accident. A car ran a stop sign and the bus driver was unable to stop the bus in time.
Stella happened to be standing in the middle of the bus when the incident occurred. Ironically, she was ensuring that one of the students was properly strapped in. The force of the accident flung her forward. As Stella attempted to grab on, her arm careened back in an awkward position. Unfortunately, she suffered a severe fracture. Stella required surgery to repair the injury.
The workers’ compensation carrier agreed to pay Stella’s medical bills. They also compensated her for her lost time at a certain percentage. They are currently in negotiations for some degree of permanent disability.
However, one more claim exists. The insurance company has a right of subrogation. A claim against a third party. They can assert a lien.
Lots of fancy talk. Let’s see what it means.
Subrogation, Third Parties and Liens
We’ve put these three categories together, because they are all related. We understand that they may sound like some foreign language to you. We’ll keep using Stella’s story to give you clarity.
- Subrogation: In Stella’s case, the workers’ compensation carrier acknowledged its responsibility to afford benefits to an injured employee. However, an outside party had caused this accident. Therefore, they have a right of subrogation. This means that they will make the payments up front. However, even if Stella doesn’t pursue a claim against the driver who ran the stop sign, the insurance company can…and WILL.
- Third Party: The workers’ compensation action consists of the employer and the employee. The person who caused the accident is the third party.
- Liens: Whether you’ve decided to pursue a case against the third party or the insurance company does so on its own, they will assert a lien. This means they will expect repayment of moneys they paid. Allowances will be made for attorney’s fees. Sometimes, adjustments are made according to insurance policies.
Of course this is more important information as it pertains to the pursuit of work-related claims. At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we have decades of experience handling these types of cases. Contact us to discuss your case.