If you have suffered an on-the-job injury like millions of people do each year, then it is likely that you need some form of compensation. However, one of the primary questions that injured workers have is whether they should accept the workers' compensation benefits that they are offered or attempt to file a third-party lawsuit in civil court. Under most circumstances, you can't do both. However, because each work and injury situation is different, it is important to consider both options and see if it is even possible to do both. Here are a few things to consider after you've been injured at work and are faced with this difficult decision:
How Does Workers' Comp Work?
Workers' compensation, or workers' comp, is a special type of insurance that your employer carries. In fact, it is required for employers to have in order to protect employees who suffer an injury or disability while at work. Each program and the laws surrounding that program are specific to the state that you live in. As a general rule, though, the program must allow for an injured employee to collect workers' compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the incident.
Will Workers' Comp Cover All of Your Medical Expenses?
With workers' comp, there is typically a maximum amount that can be paid to any one employee. This can be difficult if you've suffered a long-term injury or have been diagnosed with a debilitating disability as a result of the work incident. While workers' compensation benefits are meant to replace your income and provide financial support for medical care, it may not cover everything for you. If your costs cannot be covered fully by workers' comp, or you've had your claim denied, you may want to consider a lawsuit.
What Do You Do If the Injury Was a Result of a Defect or a Third Party?
In the event that your injury is caused by a defect, third party or malice, you may be able to pursue legal action against your employer or the responsible party. More specifically, if you believe that there was a product defect, such as a faulty safety mechanism, that caused your work injury, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the product for their negligence. In regards to a third-party, if a separate individual, entity or company may be responsible for your injury, you may be able to take them to civil court and sue for financial remuneration.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
The law is very complex and it can be hard to understand, especially if you aren't familiar with it. A workers' compensation attorney may be able to help you better understand your situation as well as what options are available to you. With an attorney's help, you will be able to decide which option – workers' comp benefits or a civil lawsuit – is most ideal for your individual circumstances.
Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.