If you receive workers’ comp benefits and pursue a personal injury claim against the third party that negligently caused the work accident, the workers’ comp insurance provider will make a claim against any settlement or court award you receive from the third party personal injury claim. A third party claim involves a situation where someone other than your employer or co-worker negligently causes an accident which injures you.
By filing a third-party claim, an injured worker may pursue compensation beyond what is available from workers’ compensation benefits. But a lien could significantly reduce any recovery. This makes it important to weigh the potential benefit of moving forward with a third-party lawsuit based on a workplace injury.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. are Board Certified in North Carolina workers’ compensation law. We can help you understand the impact of a lien on your recovery and do the analysis to determine the most beneficial path forward for you.
A third-party claim after a serious workplace injury can allow you to seek compensation to make you financially whole. When your employer’s workers’ comp insurer demands their share of any money you are awarded, it becomes more complicated. Contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., to discuss your options after a workplace injury. Contact us online or at (877) 762-9071 for a free consultation.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Liens
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance provided by employers to cover employees’ medical care and other benefits if they are injured on the job. Because employers in North Carolina are required to provide workers’ comp coverage for most employees, workers who are hurt on the job are prohibited from suing their employers.
But an injured worker may have a right to sue an individual or organization that caused the job-related injury, as long as it is not their employer or a co-worker. If a third party – a contractor or vendor on your worksite – did something careless to cause the accident that injured you, you might have a right to file a personal injury claim against them.
Circumstances Leading to a Lien
For example, let’s say that you drive a delivery van for a business. While you are out making deliveries, another driver runs a red light and causes a crash. You are seriously injured in the collision and require hospital treatment. You are eligible for fully paid medical care through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance for your injuries incurred on the job as well as partial replacement of lost wages. In addition, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your injuries. In the claim, you could seek compensation for medical costs, lost income, and for pain and suffering if the defendant’s conduct caused your injury.
If you pursue a personal injury claim and receive a settlement, the workers’ comp insurance company that paid for your medical care and lost wages will seek to be reimbursed. A workers’ comp lien allows the insurance carrier that paid your workers’ comp claim to recoup its payout if you are awarded damages.
North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act (§ 97-10.2(h)) says, “In any proceeding against or settlement with the third party, every party to the claim for compensation shall have a lien to the extent of his interest” for payments made to a worker due to an injury.
The statute requires that if there is a settlement or jury award in a third-party claim, after paying court costs and attorney fees, the next payment made is to reimburse the employer or workers’ comp insurer for medical expenses and wage replacement payments – the primary workers’ comp benefits. Then the injured employee gets what is left.
However there are ways to reduce or eliminate entirely the workers’ comp lien and an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you increase how much you receive.
How We Can Help with a Workers’ Compensation Lien
As your attorneys pressing a third-party work injury lawsuit on your behalf, we’ll be in touch with all parties and know to the penny what your injury has cost you. We’ll work to make the figures balance in your favor. Our objective is to recover the maximum amount of compensation for you through your workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim.
Why Choose Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A.?
After some workplace injuries, a third-party lawsuit can increase the amount of compensation you recover for your losses. But a workers’ compensation lien placed by your employer’s insurer can reduce your recovery from a successful personal injury claim. When you work with the North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., you’ll have experienced and Board Certified attorneys doing the calculations and seeking the best outcome for you.
Contact Our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have a workers’ compensation claim and a potential third-party lawsuit to accompany it, let Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks review your case and discuss your options. The initial consultation is free. There’s no fee for any of our work unless we recover money for you. Contact us online or at (877) 762-9071 today. If you have been injured on the job and need help obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, let us help you explore the possibilities.