The “third party” in a Workers’ Compensation case refers to the entity you are dealing with.
A Third Party Claim in a Workers’ Comp. case has three parties of concern.
The first party is the injured individual (employee, contractor).
The second party is the employer. The employer may be a W-2 employer, a statutory employer, etc.
The employer/employee relationship must be established, and there tends to be a large amount of litigation involving this question.
The “third party” is a non-employee, non-employer entity that may be partially or wholly at fault for the injury. A third party can be, but isn’t always, laterally contracted by the same employer.
For example, consider a situation wherein a General Contractor contracts a Painter and an Electrician. Both the Painter and the Electrician are subcontractors of the General Contractor. If the Painter is injured through some fault of the Electrician, the Electrician may be sued as a Third-Party Defendant.
A third-party claim often arises from car accidents that occur while an employee is working. If an employee is in the course and scope of their employment while they are hit by a negligent driver, the negligent driver will become the third party and their insurance carrier would be a third party carrier.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Third Party Injuries?
Workers’ Comp. cases cover all injuries that occur when an employee is injured in the course and scope of their employment. Employers have a mandatory obligation to provide Workers’ Comp. coverage under Louisiana state law.
The benefit to the Comp. carrier is that they have a direct right to sue because they “stand in the shoes” of the injured party. This means that the Workers’ Comp. insurance provider may choose to sue a responsible third party, independent of the injured party’s claim and regardless of whether or not the injured party files any lawsuit against the responsible third party at all. This allows the Workers’ Comp. carrier to recover medical expenses and indemnity benefits.
The coverage afforded an injured party by the Workers’ Comp. carrier is contractual. Workers’ Comp. carriers have unique statutory obligations, and their coverage does not include pain and suffering.
Because of this, Worker’s Comp. will cover medical expenses and lost earnings, but it does not cover general damages for things like pain and suffering. General damages can only be recovered from the at-fault party. So, when asking the question, “Does Workers’ Comp. cover third parties?” The answer is, technically, “No.”
What Industries And Sectors Are Generally Covered By Workers’ Compensation Law?
All areas of employment are covered by some form of Workers’ Compensation obligation. Employees in every industry and sector of employment have the right to Workers’ Compensation.
Federal employees are covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Employees who work for the state will be covered by the State Workers’ Compensation program, and all workers who are not covered under the federal or state schemes have the right to Workers’ Compensation from their employer.
(There may be some school boards that offer Workers Compensation under a separate scheme from State Workers’ Compensation programs.)
In Louisiana, a uniquely large segment of workers are employed as longshore and harbor workers. As a result, the state then sees many longshore and harbor workers’ compensation claims.
The federal laws that protect longshoreman and harbor workers in a statutory scheme are the Federal Workers’ Comp. system. These systems provide 66.66% of the injured worker’s average weekly wage for any time that an injured worker is unable to work due to an injury sustained in the course and scope of their employment.
Individuals who work on fixed platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and across Louisiana (who are not Jones Act seamen) are now protected under the recent expansion of the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
For more information on Workers’ Compensation Law In Louisiana, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (337) 289-0626 today.
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