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Gas station worker injured when customer crashes into pump

Connecticut's workers' compensation system is designed to provide benefits for workers who are injured in many kinds of accidents at work. To collect benefits, the injured worker doesn't have to prove employer negligence or show that the employer was responsible for an unsafe work environment. Generally, as long as the accident occurred while the worker was performing his or her job duties, workers' compensation should provide benefits.

However, the trade-off in this system is that workers' compensation benefits are meant to take the place of compensation that might be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. The injured worker typically cannot file a lawsuit against the employer regarding the accident if the worker also collects workers' compensation benefits. However, the injured worker may be able to pursue action against a third party, if the third party was responsible for the worker's injuries, at least to some degree.

Recently, a gas station employee in another state was injured when a customer struck him with his car, just before running into a gas pump in a fiery crash. The employee was thrown 30 feet by the impact. The man's condition was not reported.

The fact that a workplace accident was caused by a third party should not interfere with the injured worker's right to make a workers' compensation claim. However, the worker also may be eligible to pursue legal action against the third party driver who struck him with his vehicle; because that lawsuit would be against a third party, it is considered irrelevant to the question of workers' compensation.

Even the most straightforward claim for workers' compensation can get tricky. The procedures can be complicated and insurers are always looking for reasons to deny a claim. It's a good idea for injured workers to obtain legal advice while working through this process.

Source: WTNH News 8, "Gas Station Worker Injured In Fiery Crash," Jan. 8, 2014

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