Sustaining an injury or becoming ill due to a work-related incident can be life-changing in the most extreme cases, and costly if you have expensive medical bills and lost wages throughout the time you’re unable to work. Many employers are required to hold workers’ compensation insurance to cover potential accidents because even with the most rigorous security implements in place, accidents happen. There are also cases where overuse of muscles and cumulative damage to the body can lead to disability and the eventual need for medical care. Workers’ comp usually covers these cases as well.
Negligent or Intentional Actions
For the employers who care about their businesses, employees, and future success of the business, they often take the necessary actions to ensure workplace safety and even conduct safety training depending on the industry. There are, however, managers and supervisors who are not as stringent about safety, allowing safety equipment to deteriorate or cutting corners to save money. Or they allow other employees to “mess around” in unsafe ways without reinforcing the rules. This is when employees are more likely to get hurt or sick. So, when can you sue your employer for your injuries or illness?
- When your employer is clearly in violation of one or more major safety laws, especially if they are OSHA-related
- If your situation was caused by your employer or another employee doing something intentionally to you
- If your employer does not have workers’ comp and is legally supposed to
Injured by Another Employee
There are situations that arise where you could be injured because of another employee’s lack of safety knowledge, or intentional harm. In these cases, you could sue the individual for damages rather than the company. Because workers’ comp has limits as to the benefits you can receive, in very serious situations this may not cover all your expenses, and it will only cover some of your lost wages.
Is Suing the Right Direction?
Being in a litigious society where everyone is suing everyone else for something, you might be hesitant to open those doors, especially since success is not always guaranteed. It is your responsibility to prove that you were hurt because of your employer or another employee, and this can be difficult to do in some situations.
This is why consulting with a workers’ compensation lawyer, like a lawyer, like a work injury compensation lawyer, is important. They can examine your case and tell you if suing is the right direction to go. If you experienced a severe accident that resulted in permanent disability, it’s important to take further action, especially when dealing with irresponsible employers. A court will be able to reward punitive damages that not only provide you with coverage for your pain and suffering, these types of damages are also meant to punish the employer, and discourage their actions in the future, along with other businesses in your industry.
Common Misconceptions About Workers’ Compensation
Even though most employers do their best to ensure the safety of their workers, accidents in the workplace can still happen. This is why all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation benefits. If an employee gets hurt at work, these benefits can cover their medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. With that being said, here are some of the most common misconceptions about workers’ compensation.
You Can’t Get Workers’ Compensation for a Pre-Existing Injury
Many people are under the false impression that they can’t receive workers’ compensation for a pre-existing injury. While some employers may give workers a hard time about getting benefits for a pre-existing injury, it doesn’t mean they aren’t eligible. If you have a pre-existing injury that was aggravated from an accident at work, you will still likely be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
You Can’t Go to Your Own Doctor After a Work Related Accident
Although your employer may be able to require you to see a doctor of their choice for the initial assessment, you can choose your own doctor for treatment. If you don’t feel comfortable with the doctor that your employer selected, you shouldn’t hesitate to get another opinion.
If Your Employer Denies Your Workers’ Compensation Claim, That’s It
Employers deny workers’ compensation claims frequently for one reason or another. Maybe they don’t believe the injury occurred on the job, or perhaps they believe the injury is the result of violation of company policy. If your employer has denied your workers’ compensation claim, you might feel that you’re out of options; however, you can still file an appeal with the assistance of a lawyer.
Only Physical Injuries Are Covered
Another common misconception many people have about workers’ compensation is that it only applies to physical injuries, like broken bones and head injuries. However, many employers are starting to recognize mental health issues, such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder. For example, if you were the victim of workplace violence and suffered post traumatic stress because of it, you may be able to add mental health damages to your claim.
You Can File a Workers’ Compensation Claim Any Time After an Injury
This is false. In many states, you only have up to 30 days to report a work injury to your employer. If you wait too long to report the injury and file a claim, you might not be eligible for benefits anymore.
Were You Injured at Work?
If you recently suffered a workplace injury, you should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. He or she can help you file a timely claim and improve your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
If you have questions about your specific case, please contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt today to learn more.