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Can you sue a third party after a workplace accident?

While some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others, any worker in West Virginia, whether they are miners or executives, could possibly be injured on the job. And, sometimes, these injuries are not the fault of the employer or the employee. In West Virginia and nationwide, if a person is injured on the job due to some act of a third party, who was not the injured worker or the worker's employer, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against that party.

Take, for example, a person working in a factory driving a forklift. Let's say that the forklift, despite being properly used and maintained, malfunctions causing the person to be injured. The person may be able to pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the forklift.

However, keep in mind that if a person does bring a claim against a third party after being injured on the job and that person is also receiving workers' compensation benefits, then one of two things may happen. One, if the claim against the third party is successful and the worker is awarded compensation, the worker may need to pay their employer's insurance company back for the workers' compensation benefits already awarded. Alternatively, if a worker files a claim against a third party, their employer and the employer's insurance company may also become parties to the claim, so they can be compensated for the benefits they already paid out.

As this shows, sometimes it is appropriate to bring a lawsuit against a third party if you are injured at work. However, a successful claim could affect your workers' compensation benefits. To learn more about bringing a third-party lawsuit after a workplace accident, it may help to obtain legal advice.

Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Compensation: Can I Sue My Employer Instead?," Accessed July 30, 2017

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