Visitor Question

Can injured home health worker make claim against homeowners insurance in addition to workers’ comp?

Submitted By: Laura (Cedar Lake, Indiana)

While doing home health in Indiana and giving my elderly urine-soaked client a shower I turned around to get a towel and she decided to fall out of the shower.

I caught her, and with her weight on top of mine we both fell onto the toilet. I felt something snap in my leg and it got extremely hot, unable to move it in any direction.

I was carried from the home by ambulance while my client sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee unharmed.

Currently I do have a workman’s comp case (that is a joke) in Indiana. I have two severed hamstrings. Because of the delay in everything involving this case, surgery is not an option.

Indiana workers’ comp does not pay for pain or suffering. This injury will be with me for the rest of my life.

Am I able to go after my client’s daughter’s homeowner’s insurance for any monetary settlement?

Thank you for any info you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Laura,

Thank you for your question. Sometimes people can file a third-party lawsuit to recover compensation in addition to any workers’ comp benefits. The facts of your case might support one.

Third-Party Claims in General

Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of “no-fault” insurance program. No-fault means that you can file a workers’ comp claim without proving that someone caused your work accident.

If your claim is approved, you can receive certain benefits like compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws are outlined in IC-22-3-2. The law is also explained on the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana’s website.

In some cases, injured workers can point to some person or business that caused their accident or contributed to their injuries. In such a case, the injured victim can file a lawsuit or injury claim against this so-called “third party.”

If you succeed in a third-party action, you can try to recover certain losses not available under a workers’ comp claim. For example, you can try to recover compensation for pain and suffering.

To win a third-party claim, you’ll have to prove that the third party was negligent. Negligence is a legal term that means a person failed to act reasonably under the circumstances or did something wrong that caused your injuries.

Your Elderly Patient and Your Third-Party Claim

In light of your injuries, you can try to file a third-party injury claim under the homeowner’s insurance policy that you mentioned in your email.

But to succeed with this claim, you’ll have to prove that your elderly patient or her daughter was somehow negligent in causing your injuries.

We’d need more facts concerning your case to determine, to any level of certainty, whether or not your patient or her daughter (the homeowner) acted negligently.

Facts that may support a finding of negligence include:

  • The owner failed to correct a known hazardous condition in the shower
  • Your patient trying to fight you off in some way
  • Your patient, for some reason, falling out of the shower on purpose

You might have a hard time proving negligence if the facts show that:

  • Your patient fell out of the shower because of a physical condition
  • Your patient fell because she accidentally slipped
  • Your patient lacked the strength to support herself

Recall that negligence means that a person failed to act reasonably under the circumstances. Keep in mind that the main person in your case is an elderly woman who requires home health care.

Get Help from an Experienced Attorney

We recommend you speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer for help in this matter.

Third-party claims are difficult on their own, and this case presents some additional difficulties with establishing negligence.

Also, if you’re successful in a third-party claim, you will almost certainly be required to reimburse the workers’ comp benefits already paid to you. This is because of the concept of subrogation.

Third-party claims and subrogation liens can get complicated. A personal injury attorney is better situated to help in this area.

Learn more here: Work Accident vs Third Party Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,

Published:

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