If I Was Hurt By a Defective Forklift, Can I File a Third-Party Claim

Generally, if an employee or worker is injured while at work, then under California law, they can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This is a no-fault system that does not require the employee to prove that negligence caused their injuries, but the benefits can be limited. If the accident involves a defective forklift, however, there might be the opportunity to file a third-party claim to pursue additional compensation for their injuries. A San Jose worker’s comp lawyer can help.

What Is a Third-Party Claim?

A third-party claim involves someone or a party other than your own employer who acts negligently, and you are injured as a result. If, for example, you were injured at work in an accident caused by a defective forklift, you can file a claim – separate from workers’ comp – against the forklift manufacturer, forklift owner or operator, or any other negligent party that is not your employer or another employee.

If the forklift had an inherent defect due to faulty design or construction, the manufacturer should be liable for the injuries that resulted from the forklift malfunction. If your employer rented the forklift from an owner who failed to maintain and repair a defect, the owner might be liable for negligence. If a contractor was operating the forklift and made an error, you might file a claim against the contractor or their employer.

Identifying and naming a third party as a defendant can be complicated, and you should seek help from an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer if you believe a third party was to blame. A lawyer is likely to hire industry experts or experienced investigators to analyze your case in great detail to determine who or what caused the accident that resulted in your injury.

Can I Pursue a Third-Party Claim and Workers’ Compensation?

Under workers’ compensation laws of California, an employee or worker is prohibited from suing their employer in exchange for having the right to no-fault benefits. However, if you are injured at your workplace, you can file a third-party legal action against someone other than your employer. In many circumstances, you may be able to obtain both workers’ compensation and a third-party claim.

The workers’ compensation system operates independently of any third-party claims. This means that you are entitled to benefits for a work injury, even if someone else’s negligence caused your accident. Many people pursue both workers’ compensation benefits and compensation from a third-party injury claim simultaneously.