Stephen Hasner | Workplace Accidents | September 8, 2021
If you’re injured at your workplace in Atlanta, Georgia, you can pursue compensation for your medical bills and other losses by filing a workers’ compensation claim. Georgia law requires the vast majority of employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
Sadly, insurance companies are profit-driven businesses and often look for ways to challenge or deny claims. That’s why it’s wise to hire an attorney when filing your claim. A workers’ compensation lawyer will protect your interests and boost your odds of reaching a fair settlement.
However, it’s worth noting that workers’ compensation benefits only apply to certain types of damages and losses. For example, workers’ compensation will not compensate you for the pain and suffering you experience after an on-the-job accident. These benefits mainly reimburse you for medical expenses and lost wages — and may not even cover all of those losses.
You might wonder if you can seek more compensation by suing your employer for negligence. This overview will cover what you need to know about the subject.
Is it Possible to Sue an Employer for Negligence in Atlanta, GA?
In some states, employers can choose whether to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. An employee may file a personal injury suit against their employer after a workplace injury if the employer decided not to buy insurance.
This is not the case in Georgia. Georgia requires employers to offer workers’ compensation benefits. This approach serves two purposes: 1) it ensures employees have an easy method of seeking compensation after a workplace injury, and 2) it protects employers.
Workers’ compensation generally provides an injured worker with automatic benefits after an injury — regardless of who caused the accident. In exchange, the employee gives up the right to sue their employer for negligence.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to recover additional compensation outside of the workers’ comp system. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to recover damages by filing a third-party claim.
What to Know About Third-Party Claims in Atlanta
There are many reasons accidents can happen in workplaces. Sometimes, they’re the result of an outside party’s negligence.
For example, perhaps you’re injured because a piece of machinery you were using at work malfunctioned. This malfunction may have been the result of a manufacturing or design defect. You may be able to hold the manufacturer or designer liable for your injury through a third-party claim. You can pursue compensation from their insurance by filing a separate claim or lawsuit.
The following are other third parties that might be responsible for your accident and losses:
- A negligent driver
- A contractor or subcontractor (that is not your employer)
- Manufacturer of defective machinery, scaffolding, and harnesses
- And more
This highlights another reason to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. An attorney can review the details of your case and identify all parties who are liable for your injuries. Don’t prevent yourself from recovering all that you may deserve. Review your case with a lawyer.
Time Limits on Claims and Lawsuits
You must typically file your workers’ compensation claim within 30 days of your accident. If a third party contributed to your accident, you have two years from the date of your accident to file most injury lawsuits.
Just remember that it doesn’t matter who you’re filing a claim or lawsuit against: their insurer will not want to pay you. You need proper legal representation to maximize your chances of receiving a fair payout.