Work Accident Injury Claims: Why You Need a Lawyer on Your Side
Work accident injury claims can not only be quite serious, but they’re also unique among personal injury claims, as they may involve a number of strategic issues that aren’t as commonly encountered in other contexts. Employer liability, workers’ compensation insurance benefits, corporate shields, and more — it is extremely useful to work with an experienced work injury attorney who can help you navigate these complexities and take you through the dispute process.
Contact us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to a local attorney who can help you with next steps. Consultation is free and confidential. During the initial consultation, you’ll have an opportunity to talk about your case and have it evaluated by a qualified legal professional. After that, you can decide whether you’d like to move forward!
Still want to know more? Let’s address a few aspects of work accident injury claims that will help you better understand how it all fits together.
What does a work accident injury claim involve?
Work accident injury claims are those that occur at the workplace, or that occur in the “course and scope” of one’s employment. For example, if you’re delivering business supplies during work hours from one office location to another, then any injury you sustain would likely be considered a “work injury” even though it didn’t technically occur in the normal physical workplace.
Work injury claims often involve something called workers’ compensation benefits. If you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, then you are actually prevented — by law — from suing your employer directly. That being said, you also gain a number of advantages. Let’s take a closer look.
Workers’ Compensation Basics
If you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, then you can submit your claim and gain certain advantages. You won’t have to prove that your employer was “at-fault” for your injuries, for example, in order to get a payout that covers your medical expenses and wage loss. Of course, there are negative aspects to workers’ compensation benefits, too — most pointedly, these benefits aren’t as significant as what you could potentially obtain through a lawsuit, as they don’t cover pain and suffering, and other damage categories.
Workers’ compensation doesn’t apply to every worker. Only certain qualified workers are actually entitled to access these benefits. Whether you’re a “covered” employee really depends on the state jurisdiction in which you reside. In California, for example, all full-time employees are covered. Even if the business only has one employee! The exception is rather broad, however: independent contractors and part-time employees would not be covered.
Whether you “want” to access workers’ compensation benefits will largely depend on the case and the legal strategy. If you have a severe injury in which liability is clear, then you may want to try and show that you’re exempted from workers’ compensation benefits so that you can directly sue your employer for damages.
Under American law, if an employer takes any adverse employment action against you in response to you reporting a safety violation, or in response to you taking steps to sue them for an injury, then you may be able to bring a retaliation action against them. Retaliation claims are independent of the actual injury claim, and can put a great deal of pressure on employers, as they tend to be associated with large payouts (and even bonus punitive damages, in some cases). Employers are not supposed to take adverse employment actions against their employees as a “punishment” for exercising their rights. Doing so could lead to substantial legal liability.
Adverse employment actions include, but are not limited to: employment termination, failing to give a promotion, demoting, relocation, hours reprioritization, creating a hostile work environment, and more. For example, if — after you file an injury claim — your employer shuffles around your hours so that you no longer get any overtime for the month, that would likely be considered a retaliatory action, and could lead to liability.
What is the usual result of a settlement?
There is no “usual” amount that you can or should expect from a settlement. Settlement numbers vary as much as the cases they are based on. For a work injury dispute involving a very severe injury and lifelong functional issues, the damages are likely to be significant — and so the settlement amount will also (likely) be significant.
As a general rule, you can improve your settlement offers by ensuring that you have substantial supportive evidence for your claims, and by working with your attorney to ensure that your legal strategy and arguments are sound. The more certain it is that you’ll be able to prove liability, and the more evidence you have to support your damages claims, the higher your settlement offers are generally going to be.
What is the #1 work-related injury in the United States?
Slip and fall injuries (and trip and fall injuries) are the most common type of work-related injury across the United States. They also form the basis for the largest percentage of work injury claims. These “falling injuries” may involve hazards in the workplace, such as loose items, liquid spills, improper lighting, and more.
What can you get compensation for?
If you’ve been injured in the workplace, you can potentially be compensated for the following losses:
- Pain and suffering
- Wage loss
- Loss of income potential
- Property loss
- Medical expenses
- And more
Now, if workers’ compensation applies to the claim, then damages are more limited. You can get paid for the following losses only:
- Medical Expenses
- Wage loss (up to a certain limit)
What does pain and suffering mean in legal terms?
Pain and suffering damages account for the “noneconomic losses” linked to the physical discomfort and emotional distress of an injury. For example, the pain and suffering category of damages would cover your injury’s associated pain, anguish, discomfort, inconvenience, and emotional trauma. This can be difficult to measure and claim as a specific monetary amount, which is why it’s useful to have expert testimony that supports your claim.
What are the two main benefits of workers’ compensation to the injured employee?
The two main benefits of workers’ compensation for the injured employee are: 1) that workers’ compensation provides a payout even if the employer wasn’t “at fault” for causing the worker injuries, so it’s typically easier to get a payout, and 2) workers’ compensation benefits are systemized to some degree, so it can often be faster and more efficient to go through the claims process for a payout.
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Legal Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, then you may be entitled to compensation under the law. That being said, pursuing a legal claim can be overwhelming and confusing at times. We encourage you to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney who can help you navigate the dispute process.
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to speak to one of our representatives. We’ll ask a few questions about your case, then connect you to an experienced local work injury attorney for a free legal consultation. During this consultation, you’ll have an opportunity to have your case evaluated and next steps highlighted.
There’s no reason to delay, so contact us today!