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Worker Sues Employer’s Partners for Workers’ Comp
Key to making a successful workers’ compensation claim is knowing exactly which parties are liable for your workplace injury. In some cases it is obvious which parties are responsible, but in other cases you and your New Jersey workers’ comp attorney must closely analyze which parties you need to target with your lawsuit.
One situation where liability may not initially be clear is if your employer is part of a partnership. This was illustrated in a recent New Jersey case where a worker, who had slipped and fallen due to black ice in a parking lot, attempted to sue the partnership in which her employer was a member, even though her employer had already paid workers’ compensation benefits.
Usually, when an employer pays worker compensation, it makes them immune from being then sued for negligence. However, the Appellate Court found that this immunity was not automatically conferred to the employer’s partners. While there have been instances where other courts found a partnership to be, for legal purposes, the same entity as the parties it comprised, the court decided that the other partners in the membership were third parties with respect to workers’ compensation law, and state law allows for a third party to be held liable for a worker’s injury. Allowing the worker to sue the partnership, the court said, was consistent with both the letter and intent of the law.
Workers’ compensation claims are sometimes simple and straightforward, but sometimes they involve difficult questions like this. If you have been injured on the job, make sure you have an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Call Dan T. Matrafajlo for a free case evaluation.