How to collect workers’ compensation for personal injuriesLast updated on: November 4, 2022
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Figuring out how to collect workers’ compensation for personal injuries depends on several factors, including the nature of your employment, the circumstances of your accident, whether your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, whether you opted into the program, the location in which the accident occurred, and the legislative/judicial treatment of the particular state’s workers’ compensation statute.
Not every state requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, so it is important to consult an attorney in the state where the accident or injury occurred to determine your eligibility for reimbursement through a workers’ compensation system.
If you have been injured and are asking how to collect workers’ compensation for personal injuries, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863 5312 for your 100% free consultation. You will not pay us anything unless we are successful in winning your case.
Should i file a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury claim?
Although workers’ compensation provides some level of coverage for medical expenses and lost wages sustained by employees and/or their beneficiaries, it is not always adequate to cover the full extent of the damages, both physical and psychological, that the accident victims have suffered. In fact, the Workers’ Compensation Act often acts as a cap to limit the amount of recovery a client can pursue from their insurer, preventing them from receiving a full, fair recovery. Thus, there are several exceptions and alternatives that you should understand to fully protect your rights to compensation for work-related injuries.
Failure to Maintain Workers’ Compensation Insurance
The protections of any state’s workers’ compensation laws only extend to those employers who have regularly maintained workers’ compensation insurance. Therefore, if your employer failed to procure workers’ compensation insurance during your employment, or failed to continue paying for workers’ compensation insurance prior to your accident, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
Third Party Exception
Although workers’ compensation laws limit claims against employers, they do not limit claims against any other third-party operators in the workplace. Therefore, even though employees may not be entitled to sue their own employer, they may be able to sue employees of other companies that were working at the site and who contributed to the accident. Third-party claims fall outside the purview of workers’ compensation and act as if you are simply suing a non-employer for personal injuries suffered because of that party’s own negligence.
For example, while an employee may not be able to hold their employer directly liable for a construction accident, an independent contractor or subcontractor that was hired by the employer and who caused (or contributed to) the conditions of the accident will not be insulated from lawsuits. Another example of a third-party claim may involve a defect in a tool or piece of machinery. In this case, claimants could file a products liability claim, thereby suing the manufacturer of the defective tool, machinery, and product, instead of suing the employer directly.
Another means of suing your employer, despite having workers’ compensation insurance is through judicially recognized exceptions to particular state’s workers’ compensation statutes.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous examples of judicial exceptions to the “exclusive remedy provisions” of workers’ compensation statutes are those involving gross negligence and/or substantial certainty of death or injury. Nearly every state has created some exception that preserves a worker’s right to sue their employer for personal injuries caused by the employer’s own wantonly dangerous or reckless conduct.
Put simply, if you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. While one avenue for recovery may include workers’ compensation benefits, you may also be able to recover from negligent third parties or intentional tortfeasors. Given the complexity of workplace accidents, it is important to consult an attorney with experience in job-related injuries.
Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Damages
Workers’ compensation (also known as “workers’ comp”) is a form of state-designed insurance, provided by employers and opted into by employees. Workers’ compensation statutes provide a framework for states to issue wage replacements and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of their employment. In exchange for enrollment in this rapid and guaranteed compensation system, employees are mandated to relinquish their right to sue their employer for negligence. Across the country, most states have made it mandatory for almost all employers to carry some form of workers’ compensation insurance (depending on the characteristics of the organization), with the notable exception of Texas.
Employees may recover damages via workers’ comp regardless of who was responsible for their injuries, so long as the incident occurred during the scope of employment. Conversely, however, personal injury claims are lawsuits filed against the at-fault party. Personal injury claims require proof that the defendant was negligent or otherwise responsible for your injuries.
The procedures, requirements, and overall damages will differ with workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. For instance, with workers’ compensation, your damages will likely consist of medical expenses and lost wages. With personal injury claims, your damages may be more extensive and include loss of quality of life, past and future medical expenses, permanent disability, and more.
Unlike with workers’ compensation claims, there are certain fault requirements that must be met for personal injury claims. For instance, you must be able to show that there was some kind of injury, negligence, recoverable damages, and a valid claim.
For more information, contact Zinda Law Group today.
No fault workers’ compensation claims
The workers’ compensation system revolves around the idea that employees should not have to prove fault to receive a monetary sum for their injuries. Most businesses are required to carry no-fault workers’ compensation at no charge to their employees. This type of insurance typically covers the cost of medical care, lost wages, and disability for the injured workers. To receive no-fault workers’ compensation, however, the employee must be able to show that the injury occurred while at work or while under the scope of employment.
If you have any other questions regarding no-fault workers’ compensation claims, contact Zinda Law Group today. We can help investigate your claim and help determine whether workers’ compensation applies in your specific case.
Proving someone was at fault for your injury
Regardless of the industry in which you work, workplace accidents are an ever-present concern for employees and employers alike. From slip-and-falls in corporate offices to defective machinery accidents on construction sites, injuries in the workplace can happen anywhere and at any time. The good news is that if you are injured on the job, then you are likely entitled to compensation; however, if you are filing a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove someone was at fault for your damages.
Proving fault typically means you must show an individual or entity was acting negligently. To show negligence, you must be able to prove the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. For instance, if someone invites you onto their property to work, he or she owes you a duty of care to ensure that their property is safe from dangerous conditions.
- The defendant breached their duty of care. In the example above, the homeowner would breach their duty of care if they failed to warn you of a dangerous condition in the house, such as improperly installed handrails on the stairs.
- The victim’s injury was caused by the breach of duty. Following the same example, if you fell due to the improperly installed handrails and hurt yourself, your injury would have been caused by the homeowner’s breach.
- The victim suffered damages. It is not enough that the other party was negligent, the victim must have suffered damages substantial enough to cause financial distress. For example, if you fell from the improperly installed handrails and subsequently broke your leg, you would satisfy this requirement.
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced personal injury attorneys have helped many workplace accident survivors and their beneficiaries get their lives back on track after suffering injuries, death, and financial losses. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to find the responsible party and help you seek the maximum compensation for any associated medical bills, lost income, property damage, workers’ compensation insurance, pain and suffering, and all the other costs your accident has incurred.
If you have been injured and are unsure of whether to file a workers’ comp claim or a personal injury claim, call a Zinda Law Group personal injury attorney today at (800) 863 5312 to set up your free initial consultation. You do not have to worry about paying us anything unless we are able to win you compensation in your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.