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What to do if a third party is responsible for your work injuries

It is often said that construction workers work in some of the most dangerous workplace environments. Whether it’s because of their close proximity to heavy machinery or the increased risk of being struck by falling debris, construction workers in Kentucky can look forward to workers’ compensation benefits if they do suffer injuries while on the job.

But what happens if a construction worker’s injuries weren’t the direct result of employer negligence? What if a catastrophic injury was due to a faulty piece of machinery? In such a circumstance, how would an injured worker recover damages from this other at-fault party?

The answer is through a third-party negligence claim.

As you may or may not know, Kentucky workers’ compensation laws prohibit an injured worker from suing their employer if they receive compensation benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. As you can imagine, however, an employer may not always be the only negligent party. As we pointed out above, faulty or defective machinery could cause injuries, which could mean other liable parties such as:

  • The manufacturer of the machinery
  • Repair technician who last worked on the machine
  • Seller or distributor of the machinery

Under ยง 342.700 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, workers who suffer injuries because of a third party’s negligence have the right to seek compensation to cover the extent of their injuries, including medical bills and other damages. As the section explains, civil action can proceed against a negligent third party and a negligent employer, but compensation can only be collected from one or the other, not both.

Because of their complexity, it’s not advised to handle a third-party negligence claim on your own. Speaking with and retaining the services of a Kentucky workers’ compensation attorney is considered the best course of action as they are better able to explain your rights and can easily walk you through the steps to recover full and fair compensation.