Everybody who works in a steel mill, or has ever worked in one before, knows the job is dangerous. High heat, heavy machinery, toxic substances, physical exertion, high-powered tools – all of these things may threaten your health and safety if there is an accident.
Any ensuing injuries, even when not fatal, can be quite serious. According to federal data, about 11,000 workplace injuries in the primary metal manufacturing sector in 2018 required either time off work, a job transfer or a restriction on duties. That was the highest figure in three years.
Whose fault was it?
Many people, when they think of a workplace injury, immediately jump to workers’ compensation. In certain situations, there may be another option.
If someone besides your employer was responsible for the accident that caused your injury, you may be able to file a third-party personal injury claim against them. Examples of a negligent third party may include:
- A subcontractor working on the site that ignores safety procedures
- The manufacturer of a defective tool that malfunctions while in use
- The company that provides a toxic substance, but does not provide information about its dangers
- A contractor that does not provide proper training to workers
If negligent behaviors, such as those listed above, cause someone harm, the victim might have a strong personal injury case.
Advantages of third-party injury claims
Workers’ compensation acts as a safety net in the event of a workplace injury. Fault usually does not matter, only that the harm occurred in the course of work duties. Partial wage payments and coverage of medical costs help soften the blow.
In the case of severe injuries, this might not be nearly enough to cover the costs. With a third-party personal injury claim, you have to prove that another party acted in a negligent manner. However, there are some potential advantages.
A third-party claim does not have the same restrictions as workers’ comp when it comes to lost wages. Damages for medical bills may be more robust or long-lasting. And a third-party claim might include non-economic damages, such as for pain and suffering – something that isn’t possible through workers’ compensation.
Determining fault in a workplace accident is not always easy. But when it is your financial security on the line, the extra steps needed to secure rightful compensation may be worth it.