Workers in Charleston generally fall under the states worker’s compensation system for injuries that occur in the course of employment according to S.C Code Sec. 42-1-160. A third-party liability claim occurs when a worker suffers an injury during the course of their employment that was not the result of their employer’s actions or inactions. Charleston third-party liability claims against barge workers may allow for employees to recover compensation that is not available under the workers’ compensation system. However, there are also several notable limitations to filing a third-party liability claim, and a worker should carefully consider these options when they are considering the process. The professional injury attorneys at Howell & Christmas can discuss your case and determine whether you have a viable third-party liability claim today.
Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Third-party Liability
Under the workers’ compensation system, an employee entitled to coverage under the workers’ compensation act does not have to prove fault. This is a radical change from personal injury claims, which are firmly rooted in tort theory. Under a traditional tort theory based on negligence, a plaintiff must prove a barge worker owed them a duty of care, the barge worker breached this duty of care, and that breach resulted in an injury.
This means that if the workers’ compensation act covers an employer and employee, the injured employee will only need to prove that their injury arose during the course of their employment pursuant to S.C Code Sec 42-1-160. Therefore, the burden of proof is much lower in workers’ compensation claims than Charleston third-party liability claims against barge workers.
Filing a Third-party Liability Claim
Another key difference between workers’ compensation and Charleston third-party liability claims against barge workers is the court system. The Workers’ Compensation Act established the workers’ compensation commission, which is responsible for hearing all workers’ compensation claims. This commission helps alleviate some of the burdens on the court system. This contrasts with third-party liability claims, which still fall under the civil court system. This means that a civil judge rather than an administrative judge will hear a third-party liability claim.
Pursuing both a Workers’ Compensation and a Third-party Liability Claim
Workers often ask if they may file both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability claim at the same time. The reason why workers may want to pursue both claims at the same time are the limitations on compensation set forth in the workers’ compensation system. Section 42-1-560 of the Workers’ Compensation Act specifically provides that an individual’s right to compensation is not affected by liability of a third party. If someone chooses to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability claim at the same time, the employer’s insurance company may recover its own costs.
For example, if an employee files a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability claim and the employer’s insurance carrier covers their medical expenses, the insurance company can recover the correlating medical expenses from the third-party claim. In order to learn more about these details, consider reaching out to a skilled injury attorney from Howell & Christmas today.
Contact an Experienced Charleston Third-Party Claims Lawyer
Any injury sustained during the course of employment can be devastating. However, if your injuries were due to the actions of a negligent third-party barge worker, you may be able to file Charleston third-party liability claims against barge workers in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.
If you or someone you know suffered an injury while at work due to a barge worker, contact a dedicated injury lawyer from Howell & Christmas today to discuss your options for compensation. They can explain the process of filing third-party liability claims against barge workers and the benefits associated with it. Even if one law firm decided not to take your case, you could still be entitled to representation. Reach out to the offices of Howell & Christmas today for your initial consultation.