Most Connecticut workers understand that they have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured or die in an accident that is related to their worker.

Workers who assert claims for workers’ compensation benefits do not need to prove that their employer was at fault; they only need to prove that their injury was directly related to their work. In return for eliminating the need to prove negligence on the part of the employer, workers’ compensation benefits are limited to amounts prescribed by the legislature.

What happens if a worker is injured on the job, but the injury was at least partially caused by the fault of another party who is not the worker’s employer? The worker has a statutory right to bring a lawsuit against any such party to recover damages. Such claims are called “third-party claims” because the defendant is not a party to the employer-employee relationship.

Third-party claims can be extremely valuable because they are not subject to the limits on workers’ compensation benefits set by the legislature. The worker must prove that the third party was fault, i.e., negligent or engaged in ultrahazardous activity to recover damages. If a third-party is found liable for all or a portion of the worker’s injuries, the jury can award damages for medical expenses, lost income, disability and pain and suffering in amounts far in excess of the workers’ compensation benefits.

Anyone who has suffered a job-related injury or lost a loved one in a job-related accident may wish to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for advice on bringing a third-party claim for damages against any party (other than the employer) who may bear responsibility for the accident. The complexity of many third-party claims makes the assistance of a capable lawyer essential to succeeding on the claim.