Workers' Compensation

Injured at Work?

Workers’ compensation provides protection for employees who are injured on the job, or who suffer toxic exposures at work or develop occupational disease. The workers’ compensation system is a bit different from state to state, and your attorney can explain the specifics of the process in your state.

About Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Who Can Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Most employers in most states are required to participate in the workers’ compensation system. When an employer participates in the program–whether because it’s mandatory in the state or because the employer has opted in–nearly any employee who is injured at work is eligible for benefits.

One key difference between workers’ compensation benefits and other means of pursuing compensation, such as a personal injury lawsuit, is that the injured worker doesn’t have to prove the employer was responsible for the injury. With a few exceptions, an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for any injury that occurs in the course of employment.

What Kind of Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Offer?

Workers’ compensation benefits generally include coverage of medical costs and replacement income while the employee is unable to work due to the injury. This replacement income is based on a percentage of the worker’s regular income. These disability benefits may be temporary or permanent, and may be total or partial.

Most workers’ compensation systems also offer death benefits, and some sort of lump sum payment for certain types of permanent injuries or disfigurements. But, workers’ compensation doesn’t offer all of the compensation that might be available in a personal injury lawsuit.

Can I Sue My Employer for Personal Injury Instead?

In most states, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy as to the employer. So, a worker who was injured on the job and is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits generally can’t sue the employer–even if the employer was negligent and that negligence caused the injury. There are some exceptions, but they vary from state to state. So, the best source of information about whether you can file a personal injury suit against your employer will be an attorney experienced with workers’ compensation claims in your state.

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Do I Have Any Other Recourse after a Work Injury?

In some situations, a third party may be responsible for a work injury, or share responsibility for the injury. For example, a delivery driver carrying furniture into an office might slip and fall in the entry area because the business failed to clear water from the area after a leak. The driver might have a workers’ compensation claim against his own employer, but might also have a personal injury claim against the business that failed to maintain its floor in safe condition for visitors.

Similarly, a worker injured by a piece of machinery or other equipment at work will generally have a workers’ compensation claim. But, if the injury occurred because the machine or other equipment was defective or because the manufacturer provided inadequate safety warnings, the injured person might also have a product liability claim.

Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

It probably sounds like workers’ compensation claims are low stress and low conflict. That’s how it should be, and one of the goals of making workers’ compensation a no-fault program. Sometimes that’s true, especially with small, straightforward claims. But, when the injury is significant and the disability likely to be long-term or permanent, employers and workers’ compensation carriers have an incentive to delay, deny claims, or limit compensation.
Some signals that it’s time to contact a workers’ compensation attorney include:
• Delays in processing of your workers’ compensation claim
• You’ve been unable to get the medical care you need
• Workers’ compensation doctors pushing to return you to work before you’re able
• Denial of your workers’ compensation claim
• Your disability rating is disputed
• You have a pre-existing condition or prior injury that was aggravated by the work injury
• You are terminated after filing your workers’ compensation claim
When in doubt, consult an attorney. Resolve Law Group is here to help ensure that you get the benefits you deserve.

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