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Workers Compensation and Third Party Claims

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If you are injured on the job by a third party (someone not also working for your employer) generally, you can make a claim for your injuries against that person -- and also accept workers compensation benefits. Here is how that is done......

If you are injured on the job and your employer carries workers compensation insurance, you have the right to receive workers compensation benefits including payment of your medical expenses and weekly compensation checks if you are off work due to the injury. There is an entire agency in Texas charged with administering the benefits as set out in the statutes.

If a "third party" was responsible for causing your injuries, that third party (individual or business) can also be held liable under standard tort law for compensating you for your injuries.

Under workers compensation law you are restricted in the elements of damages that you are entitled to and also those damages are generally capped at less than your full damages.

In the third party claim you can assert your rights to be fully compensated for all the elements of damages available to you. So, a third party claim will generally compensate you in amounts greater than you will receive under workers compensation.

Once you make a monetary recovery under your third party claim, you are required to pay back workers compensation what it paid to you. Also, any net you receive from the third party claim (net being defined as what you receive from the third party case after attorney fees and expenses are deducted) is considered an advance against any future workers compensation benefits that might be owed to you. In other words, you have to use up your net third party recovery before you can again receive workers compensation benefits.

In a later posting I will explain how workers compensation can be responsible for a portion of your attorney fees in the third party case -- allowing you to net out more from the third party claim.