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Seasoned Sacramento Injury Attorneys

What Happens If a Third Party Is Responsible for My Work Injury?


If someone not associated with your employer is responsible for your work injury, you can file a lawsuit against that individual or business. Known as a third-party claim, these types of lawsuits allow injured employees to seek compensation for damages not covered by workers’ compensation benefits or if a workers’ comp claim is denied.

Examples of a Third-Party Work Injury Claim

There are many situations in which your employer may not be responsible for a work injury, but a third party might be.

A few examples of third-party work injury claims include the following:

  • You are driving between worksites and another motorist’s negligence causes an accident. The motorist is liable.
  • You are driving for work and another motorist, also driving for work, collides with your vehicle. The motorist’s employer is liable.
  • You are injured by a defective tool. The tool’s manufacturer is liable.
  • You are injured on someone else’s property while performing work-related duties. The property owner is liable.

How to Prove a Third-Party Negligence Claim

While employees in California don’t have to prove someone else was responsible for their injuries to get workers’ comp benefits, this isn’t the case for third-party negligence claims.

Proving these claims requires the following elements:

  • The plaintiff was injured in a work-related accident.
  • The third party owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  • The third party’s negligence breached that duty of care.
  • The breach resulted in injury to the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff incurred damages because of their injury.

It’s important to note that these conditions are not dissimilar to a typical personal injury lawsuit.

Can I File a Third-Party Claim & Get Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Yes. You can pursue a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim separately or at the same time. Doing so may even be advised as it can help you receive the maximum amount of compensation to facilitate your recovery. On top of that, some things you can seek with a third-party claim (such as past and future medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering) are not available when filing for workers’ comp.

That said, you can’t “double-dip” your recoveries. If, for example, workers’ compensation covers certain medical expenses, then you can’t achieve a recovery for those same expenses with your third-party lawsuit.

Contact Smolich and Smolich to Learn More

At Smolich and Smolich, we understand that third party claims can be a major source of stress for injured workers. Our team of attorneys is here to help make the process as easy as possible. We handle all aspects of your claim from start to finish, taking on the full responsibility so that you don't have to worry about it.

We thoroughly investigate each case and will fight to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries or losses due to another party's negligence. With our experience and dedication, we can help make sure that justice is served in your third party claim.

Contact Smolich and Smolich today so that we can start working on your behalf.