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Workers' Compensation
& Third-Party Claims

Gerstner Adam Law Feb. 9, 2022

Being involved in a work-related accident can be a painful experience for the victim and family members. Such accidents may result in minor injuries, serious injuries, missed time at work, reduced productivity, temporary or permanent disability, or even death.

Under Montana workers' compensation law, injured workers are entitled to receive workers' comp benefits, including medical bills, lost income, and permanent impairments due to their injuries. Our experienced Montana personal injury attorneys can enlighten you about the state's workers' compensation system and determine when you can file third-party claims.

At Gerstner Adam Law, our trusted team can help protect your best interests and help you seek rightful compensation for your workplace injuries. We're proud to serve clients throughout Billings, Miles City, Sidney, and Glendive, Montana.

Injured on the Job Claim Options

When an employee is injured on the job or involved in a workplace accident, the available options to recover damages include seeking workers' compensation benefits or filing a third-party claim.

Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation insurance is a policy that covers the cost of medical care for work-related accidents, injuries, and occupational diseases. Also, the workers' compensation policy covers a portion of the employee's wages while they recover. In Montana, workers' compensation benefits include:

  • Medical benefits

  • Temporary partial disability benefits

  • Temporary total disability benefits

  • Rehabilitation benefits

  • Permanent partial disability benefits

  • Permanent total disability benefits

  • Death benefits

Third-Party Claim

A third-party claim is a claim filed with the insurance company of an individual, corporation, institution, public, or private agency that is – or may be – liable for personal injury and other damages suffered by the victim. Here are some examples of third-party claims in work accident cases:

  • An employee is injured in an auto accident by another negligent driver.

  • An employee is injured at work due to faulty equipment.

  • An employee is injured by another subcontractor on the job site.

  • An employee is injured on another person's property or premises.

  • An employee is injured by poorly maintained equipment at a worksite.

Claims that Qualify for Both

However, there are some situations where work comp exclusivity does not apply, which allows an employee to pursue workers' compensation benefits and file a third-party claim against the at-fault party's insurance provider.

Car Accidents that Occur While You're on the Job

A car accident while on the job is a workers' compensation case because it happened while the employee was performing job duties. However, it can also be a third-party claim if you have a case against the at-fault driver.

Defective Equipment (Product Liability)

Product liability would be a workers' compensation case if you were hurt by a faulty product or defective equipment that you were using for your job. Also, it can be a third-party claim against one or more parties involved in making/designing/distributing the product (i.e., the manufacturer, the retailer, the wholesaler, the distributor).

Who Can You File a
Third-Party Claim Against?

If you were injured in a work-related accident, you can file a third-party claim against the following individuals or entities:

  • Employer – An employer if the injury occurred due an intentional and deliberate act by the employer.

  • Coworker – A coworker if you were hurt due to their negligent actions and they were not acting within the course and scope of their employment.

  • Product Manufacturer – A product manufacturer or seller if you were injured by a faulty, unsafe, or defective product.

Our experienced attorneys can identify the liable party, determine how to proceed with your third-party claims, help prove negligence, and pursue your deserved financial compensation.

Proving Negligence

To seek damages in your third-party claim for the work-related injury, you must prove negligence by showing the following elements:

  • Duty – The at-fault party owed you a legal duty of care.

  • Breach – The at-fault party breached their expected duty of care by acting negligently or carelessly.

  • Causation – The at-fault party's negligence caused your injuries.

  • Damages – You suffered bodily injuries, actual harm, or damages due to the at-fault party's negligence.

A knowledgeable lawyer can help establish liability, prove negligence, and determine the possibility of seeking both workers' compensation benefits and third-party claims.


Subrogation is the legal right of the workers' compensation insurance company to take legal action against a third party for reimbursement of insurance loss.

Through subrogation, the insurer may seek repayment for the workers' compensation benefits paid by the insurer to the injured worker. Also, the worker's compensation insurance carrier and injured employee may be eligible to pursue compensation for the injuries and other potential damages that the at-fault party is responsible for.

When Will It Apply?

In Montana, the workers' compensation insurance carrier may recoup the benefits paid to the injured employee when:

  • The third party's action caused the employee's injuries.

  • The employee was hurt on a property owned by a third party due to the property's defective or unsafe condition.

  • Faulty or defective equipment, products, or machinery owned or maintained by a third party caused the employee's injuries.

A skilled personal injury lawyer can fight compassionately to protect your best interests and help you seek the financial justice that you deserve.

How Experienced Attorneys
Can Help Your Situation

Being involved in a work-related accident can be overwhelming and can have a significant effect on your financial, mental, and physical well-being. Thankfully, you can seek fair compensation by pursuing workers' compensation benefits and or third-party claims, depending on the surrounding circumstances. Therefore, retaining our experienced personal injury attorneys is crucial to explore your available options to recover damages and help you navigate important decisions.

Contact Gerstner Adam Law today to schedule a simple case assessment with skilled workers' compensation attorneys. Our skilled lawyers have the detailed legal guidance, support, and vigorous representation you need in your workers' compensation or third-party claims. We're proud to represent injured employees in Billings, Miles City, Sidney, and Glendive, Montana.