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Monterey Attorneys Pursue Damages Based on Third-Party Liability

Full compensation for injured workers for harm due to negligence

When a worker suffers an on-the-job injury, workers’ compensation provides benefits such as medical care and partial wage replacement. Yet, the worker still suffers financial losses and receives no compensation for the pain the injury causes. Under workers’ comp, workers cannot sue employers or coworkers, even if one of those parties caused the injury through their negligence. However, if the party who caused the injury has no such relationship with the injured worker, the worker can sue for personal injury damages and recover full compensation. At Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna, our injury attorneys represent workers throughout the Monterey Peninsula in what are known as third-party liability actions. Drawing on more than 200 years of combined legal experience, our lawyers develop your case and hold wrongdoers fully accountable.

Third-party lawsuits arising from products liability

A common cause of workplace injuries is a malfunction of a defective product, such as a faulty piece of machinery or equipment. A products liability claim may also involve failure to warn of a foreseeable risk, such as failure to warn that a chemical solvent should not be mixed with other products, should be used in a well-ventilated place, or is highly flammable. In products liability cases, you may be able to recover from the designer, manufacturer or retailer of the defective item in a third-party products liability action.

Personal injury cases against third-party defendants

If someone other than your employer or co-worker caused your injury, you may be entitled to recover damages from that individual or entity directly and recover in a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits may be brought for harm caused by:

  • Motor vehicle accidents — If you are driving somewhere for work purposes (other than commuting) and a negligent driver causes an accident, you are eligible for workers’ comp, but you can also sue the at-fault driver for negligence.
  • Premises liability — If you enter a premises for a work purpose, such as making a delivery, and a hidden hazard on that premises causes you to slip or trip and fall, you can collect workers’ comp, but you can also sue the person in charge of maintaining the premises for negligence.
  • Subcontractor negligence — On construction sites, there are often several different work crews employed by different subcontractors. If a negligent subcontractor or an employee causes your injury, and you have no relationship to that employer, you are allowed to sue for negligence.

There is an important difference to keep in mind: workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, so you don’t have to prove liability. But when you sue a third party for negligence, you must be prepared to prove every element of a personal injury case.

What you can recover from a third-party lawsuit

If your third-party lawsuit is successful, you can recover the damages available in personal injury actions in addition to any workers’ compensation benefits you received. These damages may include:

  • Medical expenses, present and future
  • Lost wages, present and future
  • Other expenses related to the injury
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Of course, when you recover full compensation from a third-party defendant, you must repay the workers’ compensation insurer for its expenses. Still, you will be much better off financially than if you relied on workers’ comp alone.

Our attorneys carefully examine the facts of your case and determine all potential sources of recovery. If we determine there may be third-party liability, several of our attorneys have extensive personal injury experience and can adeptly handle any third-party claims arising from your case.

Contact our law firm to maximize your workers’ comp benefits in Salinas, Watsonville, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, CA

At Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in third-party claims. These cases require an experienced firm with workers’ compensation specialists as well as experienced personal injury trial lawyers. To schedule a free initial consultation with us to discuss your case, call 831-443-1051 or contact us online. For the convenience of our clients, we offer same-day appointments and services in Spanish.