By Alan Rosenberg, Esquire
Sometimes, when an employee suffers a work-related injury, that employee, not only has a legal claim under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law, but also, may have a separate cause of action against a third party as well.
For example, if you work for a supermarket and unfortunately, suffer an injury resulting from a slip-and-fall on a wet floor on the store’s premises, you would have a workers’ compensation case as to your employer because you got hurt on the job. You would be entitled to medical treatment provided and paid for by the employer’s workers’ comp insurance company, along with temporary disability payments if your injury prevents you from working. You may also be entitled to permanent partial disability compensation if, after your medical treatment ends, you still have some degree of continuing problems from your injury.
But, let’s say, that the wet floor that caused your injury in the first instance, was a result of some “negligence” on the part of a third person, not anyone employed by the store.
This third person could be, for example, an outside vendor or subcontractor type that came into the store for a delivery or a repair.
In that case, you could not only pursue your workers’ compensation case, but you could file a separate lawsuit against the person or vendor, not employed by your store, who may be legally responsible for your accident.
Some of the differences in the two legal claims arising out of the same accident and injury are as follows: you don’t have to prove negligence in your compensation case, but you do in a third-party case; the cases exist in two separate courts, located in different locales; you are entitled to a jury deciding your negligence case, but no jury in a compensation case; you can pursue pain and suffering damages for your injuries in a third-party case, but not in a workers’ compensation matter.
There are more legal differences between the two types of claims, but the important thing here is to know that depending on the circumstances how your injury occurred, you might have two cases to pursue under the law instead of just one for the same incident.
I, Alan Rosenberg, have the experience and expertise to advise and to represent you in this situation regarding both possible cases. Call me at 856-254-3755 or use my online contact form if you have any questions regarding this article.