Workers' Compensation Claims & Lawsuits
A work-related injury can be frightening, and the uncertainty of how it may affect your future – and your family – can be stressful. But unlike a typical personal injury incident, you do not need to prove fault if you are injured on the job to receive workers' compensation. However, there are also differences in the damages you can receive – workers' compensation excludes compensation for pain and suffering damages, such as lost earnings, future earnings, emotional suffering from quality of life lost, etc.
Workers' compensation only includes weekly payments, medical bills, permanent disability benefits, etc. Typically, a work-related injury does not go further than workers' compensation, but there are some situations where workers are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a standard workers' compensation claim. Understanding when you should contact a personal injury lawyer can be the main difference in whether you receive full compensation for your work-related injury.
Should I Contact a Lawyer for a Workers' Compensation Claim?
To help assess the need for a personal injury lawyer after a work-related injury or illness, see if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:
- Were you injured by a third party while on the job (e.g., driving a company car when someone runs a stop sign and crashes into you)?
- Were you injured by a defective product in the workplace, which may allow for a product liability claim against the product manufacturer?
- Were you injured by a toxic chemical substance in the workplace (e.g., asbestos)?
- Did your employer display intentional or egregious conduct that resulted in injury (e.g., knowingly make an employee work in conditions that are not compliant with federal/state regulations that result in injury?
- Does your employer not carry workers' compensation insurance?
- Are you having trouble receiving your workers' compensation claim, or is there a major dispute with the insurance company?
Note that if a work-related accident resulted in death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Steps to Take After a Work-related Injury Incident
Seek immediate medical attention — If you suffered a work-related injury or illness, go to a healthcare provider and receive medical attention.
Report your injury to employer — While it varies by state, workers' compensation law requires the reporting of a workplace injury within a certain period of time, typically less than 30 days after the incident occurred. Make sure and fill out and submit any of the legal forms required in your state.
Medical exam — After reporting a work-related injury, the insurance company typically has the right to make you see a doctor of its choice. The medical examination involves a discussion of your medical history, how the injury occurred and symptoms since the injury. After answering the questions, you will be examined by the doctor. This exam is usually one of the main factors in the insurance company accepting or denying your workers' compensation claim.
Note that some states require impartial medical exams, where the state workers' compensation agency, not an insurance company, selects a doctor from an unbiased list of doctors. In these states, the impartial medical exam and doctor's recommendation usually has significant weight on the judge's decision in a case.
Document medical expenses — Make sure to document all of the medical expenses associated with the treatment and/or management of any injuries for reimbursement/compensation purposes. Expenses to document include medical bills, prescription costs and insurance co-pays.
Request medical records — Medical records provide a significant amount of information that may be important for a workers' compensation lawsuit. Obtain copies for reference, or have a lawyer help you.
Keep records of all workers' compensation items — After a workplace injury, it is important to document the accident, injuries and other related conversations, paperwork and expenses. Maintaining records and keeping everything organized is useful for any claims or lawsuits that result.
Having trouble with your workers' compensation claim? Do you believe that there are additional parties liable for your injury? Have your claim evaluated for free by a personal injury lawyer
or call 1-866-829-2169
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