Generally speaking, Indiana workers are precluded from filing a lawsuit
against their employers or other people employed by the same employer
when they are injured on the job. However, in the event that one can prove
that the injury was due to the fault of another company or person employed
by another company, an employee may also pursue what is called a “third-party
claim”. In this case, the employee would file a lawsuit for damages.
This lawsuit would be in addition to the remedies available under the
Indiana Worker’s Compensation laws and benefits. Having said that,
however, in most instances the employer’s insurer will seek subrogation
for those benefits paid on behalf of the employee. This is called a lien.
A common example of a work comp. injury with third party liability is an
on-the-job auto accident. If an employee is traveling to a work-related
function for the employer and is involved in a car accident due to the
fault of another, the employee will probably be entitled to workers’
compensation benefits for his or her injuries, but may also be permitted
to file suite against the other driver under a third party claim for damages.
Another common example of third-party liability is in construction. If
an employee is working on a large construction project and becomes injured
from the neglect of another (such as an employee of another firm or sub-contractor)
they may have a claim against that other firm or the general contractor
who is in charge of safety on the job site.
workers’ compensation claim, in most cases the third-party claim must be filed within two years of
the date of the accident. In some cases involving a defect in design or
machinery, the Statute of Limitations may extend up to ten years from
the date the product was placed into use. An attorney should be consulted
immediately regarding the limitations on any case as these are very fact
One of the key differences between third-party claims and Work Comp. claims
is the damages component. Unlike personal injury claims, Worker’s
Compensation claims generally do not include benefits for pain and suffering.
Third party claims may also compensate the injured person for future financial
losses, while a workers’ compensation claim may rely on a permanent
partial impairment rating for settlement.