When a third-party causes an employee’s injury and that injury arises out of the course and scope of the employment with the employer, then the employee may have a worker’s compensation claim as well as a civil claim arising out of the same incident that caused the employee’s injury.
Under the Minnesota Worker’s Compensation Act, specifically Minnesota Statute § 176.061, the employer’s work comp insurance carrier may recover benefits paid on behalf of the injured employer, if the employee was injured by a negligent third-party. The work comp insurance carrier’s subrogation interest is based on the theory is that the negligent third-party bears the ultimate responsibility for the employee’s injury.
Typically, third-party claims arise out of workers’ compensation claims that involve car accidents, construction accidents, or injuries or accidents that occur on the premise of a party other than the employer. Police and firefighters are not barred from bringing third-party claims against negligent third-parties if they become injured while on duty.
These claims are complex and if the parties fail to properly address the intervention issues, then they may not recover the full amount owed.
Party 1: The Injured Employee
The injured employee can recover from the employer and the defendant:
(1) workers’ compensation benefits
(2) civil damages
Civil damages go above and beyond workers’ compensation benefits and include pain and suffering as well as other monetary damages for which the Workers’ Compensation Act does not account.