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When Is a Third Party Responsible for Your Personal Injury?

In many personal injury cases, the incident involves two parties: for example, the business and the customer, the doctor and the patient, or the landlord and the tenant. In these cases the responsibility will likely fall on one of the two, but in some cases, the incident involves a third party.

Just because a third party exists doesn’t mean that the third party is responsible for your personal injury. How can you tell if the third party should be held responsible for your injury?

When the Third Party Is Responsible


Often times, people think they have a workers’ compensation case when in reality they have a third-party premises liability case.

For example, let’s say you work on the twelfth floor of a building. Your company only rents the twelfth floor; the rest of the building is owned by someone else. You enter the lobby one snowy day and slip and fall due to an unmarked puddle of water. Because you’re at work, you may think you have a workers’ compensation case. However, your employer doesn’t own the lobby; another company does. Therefore, the other company is responsible for your injury. They’re the third party you can hold responsible in your premises liability case.

You might also have a third-party claim if you’re injured at an event. Let’s say you’re invited to an event at a banquet hall. The event is catered by another company, not the hall’s kitchen and staff. At the event, you have an allergic reaction to some food because it wasn’t properly labeled. You wouldn’t seek compensation from the banquet hall. The third party in your case is the catering company, who is truly responsible for your injury.

When the Third Party Is Not Responsible


There are some cases that might look like premises liability, but in the end, the liability will fall on one of the two parties involved rather than the third party.

For example, let’s say you’re shopping at a three-story mall. The mall is not above capacity, and there are no foreseeable hazards. You’re walking up the stairs after leaving the food court. There are multiple signs that state that no food or drink is supposed to leave the food court. However, the person in front of you has taken her drink with her. She spills her drink, and you slip on the spill and fall down the stairs.

Who would be responsible? At first this would seem like a premises liability case, which would hold the mall responsible. However, looking more closely, we realize that neither the stairs nor the premises were the cause of the injury. The cause was a spill that had an immediate effect. The company responsible for the mall wouldn’t have been able to clean up the spill in time to protect you, and they had already posted many signs warning that taking drinks out of the food court wasn’t allowed. The stairs were in perfect condition. Therefore, the mall wouldn’t be responsible for your injury.

Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer

Liability can be a tricky subject, and it becomes even trickier when third party is involved. Let us get to the bottom of your personal injury case and make sure that the responsible party is the one who has to pay. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation or contact us online.