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Workers’ Compensation Handbook

VII. Personal Injury Claims

Third-Party Claims

Often employees who have been injured at work may have a second claim against an additional party or entity that is not the employer. These claims are known as third-party claims. An employee may be able to bring a separate claim against the third party for injuries sustained during the course of employment. In the circumstance of a work-related injury, potential third parties who may be liable would be a manufacturer of an unsafe product that caused the injury, an outside contractor who created an unsafe condition at the work site, or a distributor or manufacturer of an unsafe and toxic substance or chemical that an employee used at work. If you are required to operate a car or truck as part of your job and you are injured by another driver in an accident, you may have additional remedies against the other driver.

Benefits available under third-party claims include benefits for pain and suffering, which are not included in workers’ compensation claims. Always keep this in mind when an accident occurs at work. It is important to preserve any product or piece of equipment that has been involved in an injury in the event that it can be used as evidence in the future.

Car Accidents

Many people do not know what to do or who to notify when they are involved in a car accident. Anytime you are involved in a car accident, you should call the police and exchange names, addresses, car registration information, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information with the other driver. In addition, you should also seek medical treatment if you are hurt, notify your insurance agent or company of the accident, and take pictures of your vehicle if it is damaged because of the accident.

There are also certain things that you should not do when you are involved in a car accident. You should not move your car until the police arrive, unless you are blocking traffic, never admit fault, or leave the accident scene. If the other driver leaves the scene, be sure to get a police report. Do not be afraid to get medical attention even if you are not sure whether you are injured. It is better to be safe. In addition, do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company or anyone representing the other driver without seeking the advice of an attorney.

When you seek medical treatment for injuries sustained in a car accident, your car insurance carrier is responsible for your medical expenses as part of your first-party benefits. The amount in medical expenses your insurance is responsible for depends on the amount listed on your insurance policy. Generally, when your car insurance policy has paid the limit in medical benefits, your personal health insurance then pays the remaining amounts. If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, who is responsible for fixing it or paying its value, if the vehicle is deemed a total loss, depends on who caused the accident. If the other driver caused the accident, that driver’s insurance company is responsible to cover the cost of your vehicle. If you caused the accident, then you or your insurance company are responsible for the cost of your vehicle. Sometimes, when the other driver causes the accident, your insurance company will cover the cost of your vehicle, however, you will have to pay your deductible first. In these instances, generally your insurance company will eventually obtain the costs they gave to you for your vehicle, as well as your deductible, from the other driver’s insurance company.

When deciding on car insurance, which is mandatory in Pennsylvania, you have a choice between full tort and limited tort. People often choose limited tort because the monthly premium is lower than with full tort. However, if you choose limited tort, you may be giving up your right to make a claim for compensation due to any injuries you may sustain in a car accident, unless you sustain “serious injury,” the driver who caused the accident was drunk at the time, from out-of-state, not insured or caused harm while intending to injure himself or another person, or you were not in a private passenger motor vehicle at the time of the accident. According to Pennsylvania Statute “serious injury” is defined as “personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.”

Therefore, you should always choose full tort.

You have two (2) years from the date of the car accident to file a claim for compensation due to injuries sustained in the accident.

Although it is a state law to have car insurance, there are still many drivers that do not have car insurance or only have minimum coverage. Therefore, it is important for you to have uninsured and underinsured coverage included in your insurance policy. This will give you protection in the event you are in an accident with another driver who does not have insurance or does not have adequate coverage. If you own more than one vehicle, you can stack this coverage to gain more coverage. You should never waive your right to stack coverage.

Medical Malpractice

A report issued by the Institute of Medicine states that as many as 98,000 deaths occur each year as a result of PREVENTABLE medical errors. This is more than those killed by breast cancer, prostate cancer and drunk driving combined, and the equivalent of two 737s crashing daily.

Many of these errors are unknown by the patient or the patient’s family, and the errors often are unreported by the doctors.

Preventable errors can be the basis of a Medical Malpractice Claim. Types of medical negligence include:


  • Delay in diagnosis
  • Failure to take necessary tests
  • Failure to act on test results
  • Failure to follow accepted standards in the emergency room


  • Medical care that is not appropriate and does not meet the standard of care
  • Substandard performance of an operation or procedure that causes injury or death
  • Medication not given or given incorrectly
  • Unnecessary delay in treatment that worsens the patient’s condition
  • Birth injuries—failure to provide timely and proper care to a mother and baby during childbirth


  • Not following the standard of care for prevention
  • Failing to monitor or follow up
  • Equipment failure that causes injury to the patient
  • Objects unintentionally left in the body during surgery
  • Failure to take the necessary steps to prevent a patient from falling.

The above are just some examples of medical negligence. A patient injured by medical negligence is entitled to compensation. If you have questions about treatment you or a family member received, please contact Rudberg Law Offices, LLC.

Weingarten Rights

If you are a union member be advised of the following and use this whenever the employer requests a meeting:

I believe this discussion could lead to me being disciplined. I therefore request that my union representative or officer be present to assist me at the meeting. I further request reasonable time to consult with my union representative regarding the subject and purpose of the meeting. Please consider this a continuing request; without representation I shall not participate in this discussion.

I shall not consent to any searches or tests affecting my person, property, or effects without first consulting with my union representative.

*Legal issues regarding the Workers’ Compensation Act, Personal Injury, and other employment related matters can be very complex. This booklet is designed to assist workers with questions they may have if they are injured on the job. However, this booklet cannot replace the advice of an experienced attorney. If you have any questions regarding workers’ compensation or other legal matters, do not hesitate to contact RUDBERG LAW OFFICES, LLC.1-866-306-2667*