A Third Party case occurs when you are hurt on the job, but someone other than your employer or a co-worker causes an injury. For example, let’s say you are running an errand for your boss. You are driving back to the job, and some other driver runs into you, and injures you. Then, you have a workers’ compensation clam because you were on the job, and you were hurt. But you also have a claim against that person who ran into you. These are called Third Party Claims.
When you have a third party claim, both you and the workers’ compensation carrier have suffered a loss. You have lost your health, and the workers’ compensation insurer is out money. Because of this, there are special rules that give the workers’ compensation carrier some say in what happens on your claim against the other party.
First, you have to decide whether you are going to pursue the claim, or if you want to leave it up to the Workers’ compensation carrier to pursue the claim for you. This is referred to as Third Party Election. I cannot think of a reason why you would turn the claim over to the Workers’ Compensation carrier, unless you are going to have a hard time proving the other party was at fault, or that you were actually injured.
If you chose to pursue the claim on your own, then you have to keep the Workers’ Compensation carrier informed, and you have to make sure that they are in agreement with any settlement proposals. In some cases, the Workers’ Compensation carrier will agree to taking less than it paid in benefits.
There are lots of rules dealing with this area of the Third Party claim, and if you have a significant injury, and lots of medical bills, it is a good idea to confer with an attorney before resolving the case.