Many workers injured in at work are often surprised to learn that their injury lawsuits will be covered by a commercial insurance policy. Initially, it is important to note that injured workers in Pennsylvania often have 2 legal courses of action: 1. workers’ compensation claims, and 2. separate negligence lawsuits (AKA, third party cases).
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Third Party Work Accident Cases
Pennsylvania workers are often misinformed about their legal rights after a work accident. Many simply assume that their only recourse is workers’ compensation. This is entirely untrue. Injured workers are entitled to bring suit against non-employer parties who caused or otherwise contributed to their work accidents. In addition, while employees are usually barred from being allowed to sue their employers, Pennsylvania law recognizes several exceptions to that rule. Therefore, injured workers may, in limited situations, bring lawsuits against their employers.
The discussion below pertains to commercial insurance in third party cases.
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How does commercial insurance apply?
Practically all businesses purchase commercial insurance. This is especially true for the construction industry and manufacturing industry. These commercial insurance policies provide coverage where an insured business acted negligently and caused or contributed to an injury; this is known as liability coverage. For example, a common type of insurance policy which may apply in a workplace accident case is a general liability policy of a general contractor which committed some act of negligence, like failing to adhere to applicable OSHA standards. Another example involves a product manufacturer which negligently manufactures or designs a product.
In many workplace accident cases, there will be many defendants. This means that one or more insurance policies are likely to provide coverage for the injury and offer a source of financial recovery. In other words, any financial recovery the injured worker receives comes from the insurance company, payable via the insurance policy.
How much coverage is available?
Most businesses, including general contractors and subcontractors, carry commercial liability insurance which may be a source of recovery in a workplace injury case. Many basic commercial liability insurance policies carry a minimum of $1,000,000 of liability coverage; companies often purchase excess insurance policies, also known as umbrella coverage. Umbrella coverage policies usually carry much higher limits, such as $10,000,000 or more, depending on the type of business activity.
How much financial compensation can an injured worker receive?
Injured workers can obtain fair financial compensation for all reasonable losses and damages which flowed from the accident and injuries. This includes economic losses like medical bills and lost wages and also includes pain and suffering.
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Last updated and reviewed: September 6, 2017