Getting injured on the job often leads to medical bills and even lost wages. Workers compensation is designed to help protect employees who get injured while on the job, but workers compensation doesn't cover everything, and in some cases, you can even file a personal injury claim. If you've been injured at work, check out these five important facts.
Workers Compensation Is Usually Your Only Course of Action
Workers compensation provides money to you when you are injured on the job, but it also acts a bit like business insurance for the company, since it protects your employer from lawsuits by injured employees. Therefore, you can't usually sue your employer. If, however, your employer doesn't carry workers compensation or private insurance, you can sue because they are required by law to have coverage. Another time you can sue your employer is if they intentionally hurt you, such as punching you.
Sometimes, You Can File a Personal Injury Claim Against a Third Party
There are other times when you can sue a third party for causing your injuries. If you were injured by a defective product, you can sue the manufacturer of the product. So, if you got a new chair, and the chair had a defect, which caused damage, you could sue the chair manufacturer. Another time you can sue a third party is if you were injured from a toxic substance. A good example of this is if you were injured due to working with asbestos.
With a Personal Injury Claim, You Have to Prove Fault
Except in certain instances, such as you were intoxicated, you can usually get awarded workers compensation even if the injury was your own fault. You don't have to prove that someone else caused the accident or that your employer was somehow responsible. If you choose to pursue a personal injury claim against someone, however, you do have to prove the other person was at fault. Luckily, you don't have choose between a workers compensation claim and a personal injury claim. Pursuing a personal injury claim doesn't prevent you from filing a workers compensation claim, so if you really were injured by someone else and deserve more money, it doesn't hurt to pursue a personal injury claim.
Workers Compensation Doesn't Cover Everything
So, what's the point of filing a personal injury claim? The answer is more money to help pay for your injuries. Workers compensation doesn't cover everything. Particularly, it only covers a portion of your lost wages, and it does not cover pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is more difficult to prove because these damages are not immediately evident or they are unseen injuries, such as loss of enjoyment of life. If you file a personal injury claim, you may get awarded more money to help cover pain and suffering and additional lost wages.
You Can't Get Double Money
Just because you can file a personal injury claim and a workers compensation claim in some instances, it doesn't mean you'll get double the money. If your workers compensation claim is approved and you win your personal injury claim, you'll have to repay workers compensation. You don't have to repay more than you were awarded from workers compensation, and you don't have to pay back money for damages not covered by workers compensation. For example, if you were awarded money for pain and suffering in your personal injury claim, you won't have to repay that amount.
If you've been injured on the job, you probably qualify for workers compensation, but you may also be able to file a lawsuit against your employer or a third party. If you feel like you deserve more money, contact a personal injury or workers compensation attorney in your area today to schedule a consultation.