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Workers' compensation and third-party liability claims under Oregon law

Learn how a lawsuit could help you maximize your recovery in the wake of a workplace injury.
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    January 31, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Most workers who are injured on the job in Oregon have a legal remedy available in the form of workers' compensation benefits. Workers' comp covers medical costs related to an occupational injury or illness, and it also provides partial wage replacement.

Workers' compensation can be advantageous because benefits are available regardless of fault. If you were injured, and you show that the injury was related to your work, there is no need to prove your employer was negligent in order to collect workers' compensation benefits. Even if the injury resulted from your own mistake, you are generally eligible for workers' compensation benefits. However, workers who are covered by workers' compensation benefits forfeit the right to sue their employer for negligence.

Generally, the workers' comp system is a good arrangement for both workers and employees, as it ensures there is a guaranteed pool of resources for injured workers even if they cannot prove negligence, and it shields employers from unpredictable and often costly negligence lawsuits. But sometimes, a workplace injury does occur due to someone else's negligence; if the person who caused an occupational injury was not the injured worker's employer or someone working for that employer, it can be advantageous for the injured worker to pursue a third-party liability claim.

Third-party claims can often provide a higher payout for injured workers

In the workers' comp context a third party is anyone other than your employer and those working for your employer. It could be, for example, the property owner of a construction site you are working on. Or, it could be the manufacturer of a piece of equipment you are using. It could be a contractor who is working at the same jobsite. In many third-party liability claims, it is the driver of a car that hit you while you were engaged in work duties.

By suing a third-party who arguably caused or contributed to causing your injury, you might be able to recover a higher amount than you would be entitled to by simply pursuing workers' compensation benefits. Damages in a negligence or product liability lawsuits may compensate you for things over and above those paid for by workers' comp benefits, for example, pain and suffering.

Some instances in which a third-party liability claim could be appropriate include:
- When a dangerous condition at the worksite caused injury and the landowner created or failed to correct that condition
- When a defective piece of equipment manufactured by an outside company caused injury
- When you were driving a company vehicle and a private motorist or a motorist working for some other organization struck you

Talk to an Oregon workers' compensation lawyer about your potential third-party claim

If you were injured at work and you believe a third party may bear at least partial responsibility, get in touch with an Oregon workers' compensation attorney experienced in third-party liability claims. Your attorney will help you build and pursue a case against a negligent third party, and can explain how any eventual recovery may offset workers' compensation benefits. Get in touch with an attorney today, and ensure that you receive the maximum recovery available for your injury under all applicable legal theories.

Article provided by Alvey Law Group
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