How does a third-party and workers’ compensation case interrelate?
Minneapolis workers’ compensation attorney, Dean Salita, explains how workers’ compensation fits in with other legal claims.
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If somebody’s involved in a car collision and it’s in the course and scope of their employment like a delivery person, for instance, or a construction worker ends up having an injury because of another group that caused an injury, those are called third-party cases. And sometimes if somebody’s just rear-ended in a car collision, that’s called a third-party case as well. But Workers’ Compensation has to pay first if you’re in the course and scope of your employment. They’re primary. And then you bring the claim against the party that’s truly at fault. Well, if you’re the Workers’ Compensation carrier, you’re gonna be jumping up and down on the table saying, “Hey, hey, we paid all this money, and now you, Mr. Employee, are suing and getting money from somebody else. We want our money back.”
I do both those cases together, and many lawyers don’t do both. Many lawyers just handle the motor vehicle collision or just handle the Workers’ Compensation case. And it’s important to know that you can’t just deal with one case at a time. The two are interrelated. Because the Workers’ Compensation carrier, there’s a very complicated formula that they get their money back, and there are notice provisions to put them on notice correctly to do – to make sure that the Workers’ Compensation carrier’s covered. And the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier, even though it can be confrontational at times, can become your ally when they want their money back as well. And they can help you prove your personal injury case.
So those two really do have a play together. Part of the play is you can’t settle one without the other. You can’t give notice to one without the other. Often times the Workers’ Compensation carrier, because they have to do their investigation, has a ton of information on the individual that caused this. So those cases are important to understand together. So it’s really important to have a lawyer that does both at the same time or understands or makes sure the lawyers are communicating with each other and, as a client or an employee, you’re communicating with both of them as well. I pride myself on the fact that I end up getting better results for my client knowing and handling both cases together because they can be settled in a manner where the amount paid back to a party can be minimized, and the amount put in my client’s pocket can be maximized. And I think that happens often.