Civil Remedy Against Third Party


If you are asking, what does a Civil Remedy Against Third Party Means? Here is an Example to hopefully make things a bit clearer.

Imagine a delivery driver en route to make a delivery, but before arriving at their intended destination a car suddenly and unexpectedly hits the delivery driver’s car with enough force to cause a serious accident. Because the accident was strong enough the paramedics had to be called to the scene and the delivery driver taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.

Assuming these are the facts, what would be some of the causes of actions available to the delivery driver in this case?

First, the delivery driver would be able to file a worker’s compensation claim against his employer because the accident occurred while en route to make a delivery stop, and that would be considered within the scope of his employment/job duties.

Next, because the accident was caused by a negligent third-party driver, the injured worker would also be able to file a claim against the driver who caused the accident. Therefore, in this case, the injured worker would be able to file two claims, one against his employer for workers compensation benefits and another against the negligent driver for personal injury.

As discussed in the next few sections, however, the applicant is barred from double recovery as the employer may seek credit for workers’ compensation benefits it has become obligated to pay.

A Civil Claim is Different from a Workers Compensation Claim

Continuing on with the hypothetical above, it should be noted that the delivery driver’s claim against the negligent driver for personal injury is different and apart from the claim against his/her employer’s insurance.

For instance, the overall remedies available to the delivery driver would be very different depending on the cause of action. In a civil claim, for example, pain and suffering along with punitive damages may be available, whereas in a workers’ compensation claim pain and suffering along with punitive damages are ordinarily not available. To learn the types of remedies available in a particular cause of action arising out of an accident, the injured person should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible because a claim must be filed timely otherwise it may be precluded by the Statute of Limitations.

Double Recovery

Is double recovery possible? Can the delivery driver recover against the employer’s workers compensation insurance and against the negligent driver under a civil claim? The short answer is probably not. For example, assuming the injured worker is successful in recovering against both, the insurance company under the workers compensation claim in the form of medical treatment, benefits, and a compensation, and against the negligent driver under a personal injury claim. Can the injured worker keep both recoveries? Again, the answer is probably not. In this kind of situation, the worker’s compensation insurance carrier would probably seek credit against the injured worker’s personal injury claim. Therefore, the injured worker will probably not be able to keep the entire proceeds of his/her recovery against the negligent driver, in a personal injury claim, and the insurance company, in the workers’ compensation claim. Of course, like everything else in life there are always exceptions to the rule and speaking with an experienced attorney is highly recommended.

Opting out Against a Civil Claim/Personal Injury Claim

If the injured worker, in this case the injured delivery driver, decides against filing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver who caused the accident, can the employer’s insurance company file its own claim against the negligent driver who caused the accident to the injured worker? Yes. Even in cases where the employee chooses not to file a third-party personal injury claim against a negligent party who caused the accident, the employer or the workers’ compensation insurance on behalf of the employer can file its own claim against the negligent driver. If the workers compensation insurance company paid disability benefits to the injured delivery driver, or if there’s an expectation that at some point the workers compensation insurance company will have to make payment for medical benefits, disability benefits, or any other type of compensation, then the insurance company will probably file its own lawsuit against the negligent driver.

As always, in dealing with subrogation claims, civil liability, personal injury, or a potential workers compensation claim, it’s extremely important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

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