Third Party Liability

If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, then you are likely left with a lot of questions. Of course, mourning your loved one is the biggest concern on your mind but you may also be afraid of the financial implications of the loss and you may be angry and want to hold someone accountable for the death.

As you explore your legal rights, you will likely learn that you are entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim if the death occurred on the job. However, workers’ compensation wrongful death benefits may not be as comprehensive as traditional wrongful death damages available in a personal injury lawsuit. As such, it is important to contact an experienced Boston wrongful death attorney to learn whether you have any additional options to file a civil lawsuit based on a third-party liability claim.

Why is Third Party Liability Important?

When someone is killed on the job, workers’ compensation benefits are available to spouses, children or certain other eligible family members. The benefits include the payment of funeral costs as well as survivors’ benefits. The money available in survivors’ benefits is determined by state workers’ compensation statutes and based on what the deceased was making before he was killed.

Workers’ compensation wrongful death benefits provide you with an important measure of financial security which may be essential to replace the income that your lost loved one can no longer contribute to your household. However, you are not compensated for your non-economic losses, such as loss of companionship. You are also limited by the statutory rules regarding the damages you can obtain.

For many people, these workers’ compensation wrongful death benefits are far from adequate to cover the loss. A civil lawsuit, on the other hand, can make it possible to obtain monetary damage to cover a lifetime of lost earnings as well as monetary damages to compensate you for lost companionship. In some cases, punitive damages are even available in civil lawsuits.

Because the damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit can be so much greater than in a workers’ compensation claim, many who have lost a loved one wish to bring such a claim. They cannot, however, sue an employer under the wrongful death rules in Massachusetts. Workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy and the only way that compensation can be obtained from an employer after a work injury.

In situations where there was a third-party non-employer who shares the blame for the accident, however, then it is possible to file a wrongful death suit against that third party. Third-party liability thus may allow you to obtain much broader damages after a death.

When Does Third Party Liability Exist?

Whether or not there is a third party who is liable for damages is determined on a case-by-case basis. In many workplace accidents, there is no one and nothing to blame except a freak accident that tragically happened on the job. In others, however, there was a non-employer who was negligent or careless in some way and who contributed to the death. For example:

  • If an employee was at work and injured by a machine that malfunctioned, then it is possible that the manufacturer of the machine could be held liable. The manufacturer of the machine is a third party who bears liability and can be sued in a traditional wrongful death claim.
  • If an employee was working on a construction site and an architect or contractor (who was not the employer of the injured victim) was negligent in any way, then this third party can potentially be held liable for the workplace injuries and wrongful death.
  • If an employee was at work and got involved in a car accident caused by another driver, then this other driver is a third party who was liable.

As you can see, there are lots of incidents where someone other than an employer may share the blame in causing a workplace death. When this happens, pursuing a third party liability claim can be very important to maximize wrongful death damages.

Getting Legal Help

Wrongful death damages are essential for many reasons to the families who have lost loved ones. While money cannot ever bring back a person you love, obtaining compensation can help to ensure that a death doesn’t lead to financial disaster. Further, when you obtain compensation from the person responsible for causing the death of your loved one, you are making that person pay for the costs he caused you to incur and you are getting justice on behalf of your lost family member.

At Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyer, we understand just how much is at stake in wrongful death cases. We represent clients both in third party liability claims and in making workers’ compensation claims and we always work diligently to ensure you get the most compensation possible for your situation.

To schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we can help you, get in touch with us today at (617) 777-7777 or contact us online.

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