As previous posts on this blog have explained, Georgia’s workers’ compensation system exists to ensure that injured employees in Georgia get prompt access to compensation that will cover their medical bills and at least a portion of their lost income should they get hurt while on the job.
This system does, however, involve a trade-off. In exchange for getting benefits on a no-fault basis, the employee loses his or her right to sue the employer for negligence. The problem with this trade-off is that workers’ compensation benefits do not always cover all of a worker’s out-of-pocket losses, and they certainly do not account for intangibles like pain and suffering.
Fortunately, while they might not be able to sue their employer, workers can sue other parties who may be at fault for their accident. In the law, this practice is called third-party liability.
For instance, there are many occasions in which an employee is on the job and gets hurt in a car or other motor vehicle accident. If the other driver is at fault for the accident, the employee can get workers’ compensation but also can sue the other driver for negligence.
As a word of caution, though, an employee is generally not going to be allowed to double dip and get recovery twice for the same item. If he or she successfully sues for lost income, for instance, he or she may have to reimburse the employer any workers’ compensation benefits the employee received as a result of the same accident.
Still, a third-party liability claim is a viable option for many cases involving work-related injuries. Injured workers should ask a personal injury attorney about this option.