What Is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and a Third-Party Injury Claim in Ohio?
Under Ohio law, workers who are injured on the job may have the option to pursue compensation through either workers’ compensation or a third-party injury claim. While both options provide financial compensation for workplace injuries, there are several key differences between the two—let’s take a look.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. In Ohio, most employers are obligated to provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees, generally eligible for benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury. This means that even if the worker’s actions contributed to the injury, they may still be able to make a workers’ compensation claim.
Benefits under Ohio workers’ compensation, maintained by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), can include coverage for medical expenses related to the injury, as well as compensation for lost wages and permanent or temporary disability. The amount and duration of benefits may vary depending on the severity of the injury and other factors.
What Is a Third-Party Injury Claim?
A third-party injury claim, on the other hand, is any lawsuit pursued by a worker who is injured on the job due to the negligence or wrongful actions of a third party. This might include a manufacturer of defective equipment that caused the injury, the contractor responsible for maintaining a dangerous work site, or the at-fault driver involved in an accident while the worker was on the job.
Unlike workers’ compensation, a third-party claim requires the injured worker to establish the other party’s fault. So, the worker must prove that the third party’s actions were the direct cause of their injuries and that the third party was negligent or engaged in wrongful conduct. If the worker makes a successful third-party claim, they can recover damages that go beyond what is available through workers’ compensation, including compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other non-economic damages. Significantly, payment for third-party claims often comes from the at-fault person’s insurance, rather than the BWC as with workers’ compensation claims.
Call Our Ohio Attorneys to Discuss the Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Third-Party Injury Claims
Crucially, pursuing a third-party injury or workers’ compensation claim can require the expertise of an attorney. If a lawsuit is filed in either type of case, the injured worker will likely need to hire an attorney and go through the legal process of filing a lawsuit. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, may involve significant expenses, and can last for up to two years. The attorneys at Charles E. Boyk Law Offices are experienced in both third-party and workers’ compensation actions and will help you every step of the way.
The decision to pursue workers’ compensation or a third-party injury claim in Ohio will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Please reach out to our talented team of legal professionals to determine what the best remedy for your unique situation is.