Usually, employees in Tennessee who are injured in the workplace can seek compensation for their losses exclusively through workers’ compensation. However, if a third party other than your employer was responsible for causing your injury, you may instead be able to file suit against them for negligence and seek recovery for both economic and non-economic damages.
During an initial consultation, a Murfreesboro workplace injury lawyer could explain your legal options and help determine whether a third-party lawsuit is the best course of action for your situation. Once retained, an experienced personal injury attorney could provide steadfast guidance and support throughout every stage of your case, whether it ends with private settlement negotiations or in civil court.
Third-Party Lawsuits Versus Workers’ Comp Claims
Tennessee’s workers’ compensation laws require every employer that employs five or more workers on a regular basis—as well as all employers of any size in the construction and coal mining industries—to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. In exchange for providing employees with an easy way to pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost wages following a workplace accident, Tennessee Code §50-6-108 prohibits employees from filing suit against their employer for negligence related to the same incident.
If the negligence of a third party, such as a contractor, component manufacturer, or safety inspector, is responsible for causing an employee’s injury, that worker may have grounds to file suit directly against that person or entity. However, to recover compensation, they would have to meet the same standard for proving negligence that applies to other personal injury claims.
This includes proving that the third party in question violated a duty of care they owed them and directly caused them to suffer compensable losses. A Murfreesboro attorney could provide crucial assistance in collecting and presenting evidence of fault for a workplace injury.
What Damages Could Be Recovered by an Injured Employee?
While employees filing workers’ comp claims do not have to prove negligence by anyone to receive benefits, these benefits also only provide payments for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and sometimes disability benefits. Conversely, a third-party lawsuit may allow an injured plaintiff to recover for numerous economic and non-economic losses, assuming they can prove liability on the part of the defendant.
Damages that a local lawyer could help injured employee pursue include, but are not limited to:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income, as well as loss of future earning capacity
- Costs related to repairing or replacing damaged personal property
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and/or emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
However, these cases are also subject to the particularly strict statute of limitations that Tennessee law establishes for personal injury lawsuits. Since TN Code §28-3-104 allows only one year after an accident for most injured individuals to file suit, it is important to act quickly when pursuing a third-party claim for suffering an injury on the job.
Talk to a Murfreesboro Workplace Injury Attorney Today
Even if workers’ compensation is not available to you following a work-related accident, you still may have options for pursuing compensation for your losses. However, being successful in these cases can be difficult for an unrepresented plaintiff, especially if they have no prior experience with civil litigation.
Hiring an experienced Murfreesboro workplace injury lawyer could help you make knowledgeable decisions about how to proceed with your case. To schedule a consultation, speak with a trustworthy attorney at our firm today.