A textbook personal injury dispute involves two parties–a victim and a defendant. In so many cases, however, it’s not that simple.
Following are descriptions of some of the ways that third parties become involved in personal injury lawsuits.
In a personal injury case, a defendant might ‘implead‘ a third party. In this case, the defendant might be claiming that the third party, not the defendant, is responsible for your injuries.
Following are some examples of impleader situations:
- You sue a driver for causing a car accident. The driver seeks to implead the manufacturer of their car’s brakes, claiming that brake failure caused the accident.
- A homeowner sues a general contractor for negligent construction. The general contractor seeks to implead the subcontractor who actually performed the construction.
- You sue the retailer of a product that injured you in a strict liability claim based on a manufacturing defect. The retailer impleads the manufacturer.
There are many other situations in which a defendant might seek to implead a third party.
In an intervention, the third party seeks to join a lawsuit on its own initiative. Following are some examples of interventions that might occur in a personal injury case.
- A product liability case with multiple victims. A victim might intervene by claiming that the resolution of the case could set a precedent that might affect the intervenor’s legal rights.
- An injured person sues a company for injuries sustained due to a dangerous condition on the defendant’s property. A government agency that enforces regulations involved in the case seeks to intervene because of the case’s effect on the future enforcement of these regulations.
- You sue a driver in a multi-vehicle accident. Another injured party in the same accident seeks to intervene to seek damages, since there were many victims and the defendant has limited financial resources.
As with impleaders, there are many potential circumstances that might warrant an intervention.
Workers’ compensation covers most workplace accident claims. Under certain circumstances, however, a third party becomes involved. Fortunately, this could be to your advantage if you find yourself in this situation.
Following are a couple of common scenarios involving third-party workers’ compensation claims:
- The employee of a construction project general contractor cannot sue their employer due to workers’ compensation regulations. Instead, the employee files a lawsuit against the owner of the construction site on a premises liability claim. The allegation is that the owner permitted the dangerous condition on the property that injured the employee.
- A factory worker suffers an injury due to defective machinery. Instead of suing their employer, they sue the manufacturer of the equipment in a product liability claim.
An employee who files a third-party lawsuit is probably eligible to receive far greater compensation than the workers’ compensation system would have provided. “Pain and suffering” damages alone often account for the majority of a personal injury claim, and those damages are not available in a workers’ comp claim.
Third-Party Beneficiaries in Liability Insurance Claims
If you suffer an accident, you can probably file a claim against the at-fault party. The at-fault party, however, might lack the personal resources to pay your claim. If they have liability insurance covering your injury, you can file a third-party claim against their liability insurance carrier.
Assuming your claim for compensation is legally valid, you can sue the insurance company even though you are not a party to the insurance contract between the at-fault party and the liability insurance carrier.
Third-Party Dispute Resolution
Of course, both judges and juries constitute “third parties” who routinely resolve personal injury claims. There are informal options as well.
Arbitration, for example, resolves claims through a private “rent-a-judge.” In mediation, trained third-party mediators help parties resolve their disputes in a non-coercive manner.
Vicarious liability is very similar to third-party liability. Under third-party liability, one party bears liability for the misconduct of another. Descriptions of two of the most common scenarios appear below:
- Employers typically bear civil liability for the on-duty wrongful acts of their employees.
- Alcohol vendors sometimes bear liability for injury accidents arising from providing alcohol to an underage patron.
Many other scenarios frequently generate vicarious liability.
Contact a Galveston Personal Injury Lawyer To Help With Your Claim
Contact a skilled Galveston personal injury lawyer at The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers. We can help you in more ways than you might be able to imagine – from negotiating with the insurance company to drafting court documents on your behalf.
Ultimately, an attorney can assist you in recovering the complete value of your claim. Schedule a free consultation if you’ve been involved in an accident to learn about your legal options.