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Worker Injured at a construction site

Third-Party Worksite Accident Claims

James P. Leahy Attorney At Law July 13, 2023

Being involved in a worksite accident can be incredibly frustrating. Luckily, as many workers know, employees who suffer a construction site injury or occupational disease may be entitled to pursue workers' compensation benefits, including compensation for medical bills and lost income. What many employees do not know is that they may also be able to file something called a ‘third-party claim.’ 

At James P. Leahy Attorney At Law, I have spent my career supporting and representing injured workers throughout Illinois. As an experienced personal injury attorney, I can investigate all of the facts of your case, identify the liable party, and seek to prove negligence. Additionally, I can help file a third-party claim, fight diligently for your rights, and guide you forward. 

My firm proudly serves clients across Elgin and throughout surrounding areas in Illinois, including St. Charles, Aurora, and Kane County. Set up a one-on-one consultation today. 

Third-Party vs. Workers' Compensation Claims

When an employee suffers an injury on a worksite, this employee might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a third-party claim. 

Third-Party Claim

You may be aware that if you’ve received workers’ compensation benefits for an injury, you cannot sue your employer for damages related to that injury. But what if your injury was the fault of a party other than your employer? In other words, a third party? 

Essentially, a third-party claim is a claim filed against an individual or entity who caused the workplace accident, separate from the employer itself. 

Some common examples of third-party claims at worksites could include:  

  • A worker is injured in a traffic crash caused by a negligent driver. 

  • An employee is injured by poorly maintained property at a site that is not owned by the employer. 

  • An employee is injured at work by defective or faulty equipment because the equipment was incorrectly manufactured or designed.

Remember that third-party claims are not directed at your employer. Standard worker's compensation claims may be directed at your employer for injuries suffered due to the negligence of the employer. 
Ultimately, the purpose of third-party claims—as well as workers' comp claims—is to help cover the affected employee's medical expenses, lost income/wages, and more. You’ll need a skilled attorney to help you decide whether or not filing a third-party claim is necessary in addition to (or instead of) a typical workers’ compensation claim.

Common Reasons Third-Party Claims Are Filed After Construction Site Injuries

You may file a third-party claim if your construction site accident or injury was caused by any of the following: 

  • Defective or faulty equipment 

  • Inadequate employee training 

  • Safety code violations 

  • Unsafe working conditions 

  • Motor vehicle accidents that occur while on the job. 

  • Inadequate protection at the worksite 

Every worksite—especially construction sites—is unique. A knowledgeable lawyer can examine the surrounding circumstances of your injury and help you understand the next steps you ought to take.  

Steps to Take After a Worksite Accident

Getting hurt in a worksite accident can be frustrating. Keep in mind that the steps you take—or fail to take—can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your claim, including your third-party claim. Even though you may be feeling physically and mentally overwhelmed, try to take the following steps after a worksite accident:  

  • Stay calm and get to safety. 

  • Find and notify your supervisor or project manager about the worksite accident or injury. 

  • Get prompt medical treatment from an experienced doctor. 

  • File an accident report with the police and with your employer. 

  • Collect and document a copy of the accident report, accident scene photos, witness testimonies, and pictures of your injury. 

  • Document medical reports, medical treatments received, medical expenses, and hospital visits. 

  • Document your personal account of the worksite incident and how your daily life and ability to work have been affected. 

  • Retain an attorney to help file your third-party claim and handle all communications and negotiations with the third party’s insurance provider on your behalf. 

An experienced worksite accident attorney can identify the at-fault party, help file your third-party claim, and walk you through the legal procedures involved. 

Filing a Third-Party Claim

Depending on the events leading to the worksite accident and other surrounding circumstances, you may file a third-party claim against any of these parties or entities: 

  • A product designer, manufacturer, or seller 

  • A driver or motorist 

  • A contractor or subcontractor 

  • A property owner or construction site owner 

  • An architect or engineer 

A dedicated attorney can evaluate every aspect of your case, determine the liable party (or parties), help file your third-party claim, and seek to prove fault. 

Proving Negligence

To pursue damages for your construction site injury through a third party claim, you must prove fault and establish negligence by showing the elements below: 

  • Duty – The third party owed you a legal duty of care. 

  • Breach – The third party breached that expected duty by acting recklessly or negligently. 

  • Causation – The third party’s negligence or carelessness caused your injuries. 

  • Damages – You suffered actual harm, bodily injuries, property damages, or other losses as a result of the third party's negligence.  

Allow an attorney to help you prove negligence and attempt to recover the maximum possible compensation for your worksite injury. Proving negligence is only required for third-party claims; you do not need to prove negligence when you file a workers’ compensation claim.

How Can Subrogation Apply to Me?

Subrogation allows a workers' compensation insurance provider to take civil action against a third party and recover the monetary compensation paid to the injured worker. Essentially, the insurer may use subrogation for reimbursement of insurance loss from the at-fault third party when: 

  • The direct actions or inaction of the third party caused the employee's injuries.   

  • The employee suffered an injury due to the defective or unsafe conditions of a building owned by the third party. 

  • A defective or faulty equipment or product manufactured, owned, or maintained by the third party caused the worksite accident or worker's injuries.   

An experienced lawyer can advocate for your best interests at every stage of the third-party claims process.  

Don't Navigate Your Claim Alone

Filing a third-party claim may certainly be an option for you after you’ve suffered an injury in the workplace. However, these kinds of claims can be complex. Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in order to protect your legal rights. 
At James P. Leahy Attorney At Law, I have devoted my career to guiding clients through challenging times in their lives. As your attorney, I can investigate every aspect of your workplace accident and help determine how you can move forward. 

Contact me at James P. Leahy Attorney At Law today to schedule a simple case assessment with a seasoned worksite accident attorney. My firm proudly serves clients across Elgin, St. Charles, Aurora, and Kane County, Illinois.