Many California workers earn their incomes in warehouses, shipping facilities or factories. In a typical workday, these workers often use heavy equipment, machinery or products that support their duties, such as a skid steer or assembly line equipment. If a workplace accident occurs that results in injury, a worker may be entitled to file a third party claim in a civil court if a manufacturing or product defect was a causal factor in the incident.
What constitutes product liability?
If a worker files a third-party claim, it will be necessary to prove in court that the defendant was negligent and that this negligence was the proximate cause of the damages the plaintiff sustained. Product liability claims often include issues such as warranties, design flaws and manufacturing errors. If, for instance, a worker suffers injury because a machine malfunctions, and the malfunction is determined to have been caused by a defective design or assembly, the manufacturer may be financially responsible for damages.
Filing a third-party claim is separate from workers’ compensation
If a worker suffers injury because of negligence on the part of someone who is not the employer or a co-worker, he or she may file a third-party claim in court. However, this type of litigation is separate from filing a workers’ compensation claim, although sometimes the two systems intersect. The workers’ comp insurer may be entitled to a lien against compensation awarded in a successful third-party claim in repayment of benefits advanced through the workers’ compensation claim process.
Making ends meet during recovery after a workplace injury
Depending on the severity of an injury that happens in the workplace, a worker might have to take time off for several days, weeks or longer. In fact, some injuries are so severe that a worker may never return to work. It is important to know where to seek support to handle legal issues that may arise regarding product liability or third-party liability litigation.