Legal Tips and Resources
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance program that provides benefits to employees who become injured or ill on the job and as a result of the workplace. Each state has its own distinct laws about workers’ compensation. Essentially, workers’ compensation is a way of making sure that an employee is covered financially when it comes to their medical bills, any loss of income, permanent disabilities or any other damages that may come as a result of their injury.
Getting injured at work isn’t always the direct fault of your employer, but that doesn’t mean that you are ineligible for benefits just because you may have caused the accident yourself. So long as it is truly an accident, your workers’ compensation benefits should cover you.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. What does that mean?
If you’re injured while at work, you can receive compensation without having to prove that your employer is at fault. This insures that you are able to begin receiving medical benefits and compensation for lost wages as soon as you alert your company to your injury. That is because filing for workers’ compensation is not the same as filing a personal injury claim against your employer. If you filed an injury claim, you would have to wait until your claim was settled before being reimbursed or compensated for the out-of-pocket expenses you may pay.
For example, if you were to fall at work and hurt yourself, you’d be eligible for benefits even if the reason you fell was directly your fault.
Like any program there are exceptions. What are they?
- Were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the injury occured.
- Deliberately caused the accident.
- Were disregarding or breaking company policy when you experienced your injury.
When it comes to cases like these, you may no longer be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. A competent and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand and protect your rights to compensation and benefits. Call a workers’ compensation lawyer today to discuss your case.
Can I file a personal injury claim against my employer?
Generally, the answer to this question is no. Workers’ compensation benefits are often your only recourse for an injury that occured on the job. Just as the no-fault system protects you from having to prove the accident was the fault of your employer, it protects your employer from any personal injury claims.
If your employer deliberately hurt you or caused you harm, you may be able to file a personal injury suit against them for damages. If this is the case, contacting an experienced Milwaukee work injury lawyer would be wise.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation and benefits.