Maryland Work Injury Attorney: Options Beyond Workers’ Compensation

How a Third Party Personal Injury Claim Helps Injured Workers

Video Transcript:

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks

It's absolutely important to call an attorney, and call an attorney immediately so the investigation can be done early on to set you up for the compensation or the recovery that you deserve.

Rob Rosenthal:

If you're injured on the job, is workers’ comp your only option? And how do you know? Well, that's what we're going to find out today, because we're going to ask the lawyer.

Hi again, everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com, and my guest is Maryland attorney Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks. Gwen-Marie, very good to see again. Thank you for making some time for us.

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks

Absolutely Rob. Always a pleasure to spend time with you.

Rob Rosenthal:

So, someone's been injured on the job and maybe people are familiar with workers’ comp, but you're here to tell us there's something else that might be an option, and that's a third party claim. Can you explain to us what that is?

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks

Yes. So when you're injured on the job, obviously you have workers’ compensation. However, in some cases, there may be what’s called a third-party claim, which is a bodily injury claim. There may be a third-party other than your employer who may be responsible for the negligent act that caused your injury, I have plenty of examples of that, if you like.

Rob Rosenthal:

That was my next question. How about some examples?

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks:

Alright, so you're driving on the job for work, we’re talking on-the-job, for work; you would think that's just a workers’ compensation claim, but actually, if a negligent party caused the car crash, in a case like that you would be able to file a claim or a lawsuit against the third party, the negligent party that caused the injury while you were driving on the job.

Another example, actually, we just had a new case that came in, was for a person who was a waiter at a restaurant, and the floor fell through while they were in the kitchen at the restaurant. Come to find out, the restaurant was owned by the landlord who failed to maintain the floor. So the person who fell through the floor while working on the job, they're able to bring a third-party bodily injury claim, because they were seriously injured through a third party. Another example I can think of—there's so many—let’s say you're working in your building, at work, and you go to the bathroom when the elevator closes on your arm because it’s a faulty elevator, or you fall, the elevator falls through the shaft to the ground and you're injured, that is the other case where you're actually on the job, but there's third-party negligence involved.

The list can go on and on and on, so that’s just a few examples of third-party claims that can happen while you're actually working on the job.

Rob Rosenthal:

So it brings up a couple of questions in my mind. First of all, is it connected—this third-party claim? Is it connected at all to the workers’ comp? Do they work separately? Does one supersede the other?

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks:

Yes, yes. Yes they do. So for example, if you did get workers’ compensation while on the job before you can settle your bodily injury claim with a third party, they have a right to what you call subrogate, so you have to be mindful of that.

Rob Rosenthal:

Okay, so that brings up another question. Like in the examples you gave, someone may not even realize that there could be a third-party claim. I would imagine a lot of times people don't know. So it's important to get an attorney such as yourself who would be familiar with this to help you navigate, to even see if you have a claim. Correct?

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks:

Call right away, because essentially, the example that I used with the young lady who's working at the restaurant, she called thinking it was just a workers’ compensation claim, but actually, it may not be. And after doing our due diligence and finding out if there was a third party involved, did they have a duty? Did they breach the duty? Did they have causation? Are you injured, which are the damages? Then there’s a case and let's go for it. In this situation, there's a lot more involved in recovery because there’s a third party involved.

It's absolutely important to call an attorney and call an attorney immediately, so the investigation can be done early on, to set you up for the compensation or the recovery that you deserve.

Rob Rosenthal:

So if somebody did file a workers’ comp claim, that doesn't mean they cannot file a third-party claim, right?

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks:

Right, that's correct. That's correct.

Rob Rosenthal:

And some people may think, “Okay, I can do workers’ comp, I can do that on my own,” but this third-party claim, you definitely need a personal injury attorney to help you with that, right?

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks:

Absolutely. If you want to leave money on the table, do it yourself, but if you want to get the compensation that you deserve and make sure that you're not missing a step—I mean, I do this all day, every day. So it's better to have a competent attorney do it and do a good job for you so you can get the competition that you deserve. Absolutely.

Rob Rosenthal:

So once again, early on, get an attorney involved, even if you're not sure but just to find out, because like you say, you may be leaving money on the table.

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks:

Rob, I would tell everybody just to give our office a call. We will help you to navigate either way. And look, like the case I just mentioned, low and behold I’m driving on a job or I'm working on a job, I know it’s workers’ comp, but no. A competent attorney will ask more questions and dig a little deeper. Where were you? Did the landlord—who was it owned by? Do they own the building? Things like that.

Navigating and asking the proper questions makes it so much easier. I can think of things and say, “Oh, that's not workers’ comp alone. That is actually a third-party claim. Let's get that going.” So it's a good thing.

Rob Rosenthal:

Lots of great information as usual, Gwen-Marie. Thanks for taking some time to answer our questions.

Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks:

Thanks for having me. I always enjoy having these conversations with you.

Rob Rosenthal:

That's gonna do it for this episode of AskTheLawyers™. My guest has been Maryland attorney Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks. If you want the best information or you'd like to be able to make sure you choose a lawyer that lawyers choose, make sure to go to askthelawyers.com. Also, please take a second to subscribe by punching the button down there in the corner and you'll know about future episodes.

Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com.

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