When A Third-Party Causes A Work Accident

People can become injured at work due to a variety of causes. Sometimes a work accident can result in personal injuries, medical bills and lost time from work, due to the negligence of a third-party. When that is the case, besides a workers comp claim, the injured worker may also pursue a third-party claim as well.

This can happen when a worker slips and falls while working, and a cleaning company caused the floor to be excessively slippery. Or, if someone is on-the-clock and is injured in a car accident, if a third-party caused the accident, then a claim can also be made directly against that party.

When there is a settlement of a third-party case, Massachusetts law requires that a Section 15 petition be approved by either a judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents or the Superior Court. This legal document is generally prepared by the injury victim’s attorney, and must be signed by multiple people involved with the case. The petition specifically addresses the workers compensation insurance company’s lien against the third-party case, and the amount they will receive out of the settlement.

By law, the workers compensation company is permitted to recover the money paid out in workers comp benefits to the injured party, but by law they must reduce their lien by 1/3 since the injury victim likely must pay his attorney 1/3 of the total settlement as a fee.