If you’ve been injured while at work, then you may be entitled to compensation in the form of workers’ compensation benefits — and in some cases, you may have a right to sue and recover damages in a lawsuit.
Workplace injuries are often complicated by multiple defendants, regulations preventing lawsuits against employers, and hostile insurance companies. Consult an experienced workplace injury lawyer who can help you navigate the challenges of this recovery process and secure the maximum possible compensation on your behalf.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we connect injured plaintiffs to a network of experienced workplace injury attorneys who work on contingency – you only pay legal fees if and when you secure compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid out when an employee is injured in the workplace. It is a form of compensation that pays out regardless of whether you or the employer is actually at-fault for the injury.
Regardless of jurisdiction, all employees are potentially entitled to workers’ compensation.
Under certain circumstances, however, an injured employee may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You may lose out on workers’ compensation benefits if you:
- Intentionally cause your own injuries
- Were intoxicated or otherwise under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
- Were injured due to your involvement in criminal activities
- The injury was caused by the intentional malfeasance of a third-party
It’s worth noting that, under workers’ compensation rules, there are certain expectations that you must abide by to qualify. You are not entitled to seek medical care with an undesignated medical provider, for example.
Given these requirements (and more), it’s important to be assisted by a workplace injury lawyer who can help you navigate the procedural and legal landscape.
Litigation May Be Possible
Workers’ compensation laws prevent the injured worker from suing their employer for damages. Instead, the injured worker can obtain benefits in the form of workers’ compensation to help them recover.
The problem with this dynamic is that workers’ compensation benefits are somewhat more limited than the potential damages one can obtain through litigation.
In a lawsuit, the injured plaintiff may secure damages that account for:
- pain and suffering
- wage loss
- loss of earning capacity
- property loss
- medical expenses
By contrast, workers’ compensation benefits cover only the medical expenses and wage loss associated with injury. In a case where you have suffered severe injury, it is worth considering potential avenues for recovery beyond workers’ compensation.
Suits Against Employers
Though workers’ compensation laws prevent a lawsuit against the employer, there is an exception: where the employer acted recklessly or intentionally to cause injury. So how does this apply? Suppose that your employer refused to provide helmets to warehouse workers due to the additional cost. They knew that there was a risk of injury from falling objects, however.
If you are injured by a falling object in the warehouse, you could ostensibly sue the employer for recklessly endangering you and thereby causing injury. Workers’ compensation law would not shield them from a lawsuit.
Suits Against Third Parties
Even if the employer is shielded from a lawsuit, however, you can pursue damages from other parties. Third parties responsible for your injuries may be held liable.
For example, if you’re injured on a ladder, it’s possible that the ladder was faulty in its design. You might be able to sue the ladder manufacturer on that basis, and therefore recover both workers’ compensation benefits and damages (through a lawsuit).
Workers’ Comp Benefits You Could Receive
If you’ve experienced a work accident, a workplace injury lawyer could help you obtain:
- All the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to, up to $4,400 a month
- Monetary compensation to cover your doctor and medical bills
- Payments for up to 104 weeks of temporary disability
- Payments for up to 240 weeks of disability for severe injuries
- Total disability benefits
Reasons for workers’ compensation claims because of a work accident may include:
- Accident-related injuries (i.e., slip and fall, chemical burns, etc.)
- Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel
- Illness as a result of exposure to toxins or particulate matter
- Psychological trauma (i.e., PTSD) caused by a work incident
- And more
Act Now – Every Day Counts
Following a work-related injury, you only have 30 days from the date of the accident to report the incident to your employer or your supervisor. From there, you can take steps to proceed with your workers’ compensation claim.
Worth noting: in most states, if you haven’t become aware of the injury yet (perhaps you suffered a hairline fracture that didn’t show symptoms until a few months later), then you’ll have extra time to work with. You’ll have 30 days starting from the date that you became aware of the injury.
In the event that you have a lawsuit (whether against your employer or a third-party responsible for your injuries), then you’ll have other procedural requirements to consider. For example, a statute of limitations deadline will apply to your claims. If you do not file your claims within the applicable deadline period (i.e., two or three years from the date of the accident), then your case could be dismissed.
Given the strict procedural requirements, it’s critical that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. They will ensure that all aspects of your case are handled in a timely manner.
Workplace injuries can be confusing for first-time plaintiffs. It may not be clear what you’re owed under the law, and how best to approach seeking compensation. Further, you may be anxious about pursuing compensation, as your employer could be putting pressure on you to refrain from additional conflict.