Injured on the Job
When You Need More Than Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is essentially an agreement between employers and employees that when an injury occurs on the job, their will be financial compensation made to the injured party. In exchange, employees are not able to file a lawsuit against their employer. There are areas of professional service in which there exist exemptions to this rule, such as some law enforcement, fire men, interstate railroad workers, and crew members of vessels, but individuals in these lines of duty should consult with a personal injury or workplace law attorney to determine their eligibility.
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to shorten and streamline the process of financial compensation to an injured party once an incident occurs on the job. Otherwise, claims filed in the traditional court system would take more time and be more costly to both employers and injured employees.
One key reason that these cases are able to move more quickly through a workers’ compensation insurance company claims process is that fault does not need to be proven in order for payment to be made to the injured party. This is the primary difference between workers’ compensation cases and personal injury cases, that require that the fault of the defending party be proven by the plaintiff.
Another major difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation cases is that damages awarded in personal injury cases can include non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation is limited to compensation for financial loss due to medical treatment, lost wages and other economic damages.
There are cases in which an employee who is injured on the job can file a personal injury claim. If the injury is sustained at the fault of a third party, such as a driver who runs a stop sign and hits your car while you are on company time or a delivery person who causes some bodily injury to you. In these instances, you can file a claim against the third party—the driver or delivery man—to receive compensation for your injuries.
In addition, if a piece of machinery, equipment or other product at your workplace injures you in some way, there is the possibility that you could bring a products liability case against the manufacturer of that product. In the same vein, if a toxic substance in your work environment causes you harm, such as a poison or a toxic cleaning agent, you may have reason to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer of that substance.
There are cases in which employers have not bought into workers’ compensation insurance, in which case you can often still file a civil lawsuit against them for your injuries sustained on the job. In each of these cases, we at Gill Ladner and Priest recommend that you consult with one of our skilled attorneys who is well-versed in workplace law and injuries claims. We are here to help you determine the best path of action for your situation.