When Workers Are Injured On The Job
If you have sustained injuries or become ill while you were working – whether you were on a traditional job site at the time you suffered harm or not – you may have one or more opportunities for financial recourse available to you. For example, if you were involved in a work-related car accident, you likely have the same opportunities to pursue an insurance settlement available to you that everyone else has. However, you also are likely in a position to file a workers’ compensation benefits claim, file a personal injury lawsuit, or do both of these things.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Claims
Workers’ compensation benefits are extended to most workers in the U.S. who are classified as full-time or part-time employees. Most independent contractors, workers at unusually small companies, and some workers in specialized industries are ineligible for these benefits. As an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer – including those who practice at The Law Offices of Cliff Enten – can explain in greater detail, because workers’ comp is a no-fault system, injured employees are generally entitled to receive these benefits after sustaining work-related harm even if they were at fault for their injurious circumstances. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which an attorney can review with you if you’re eligible for this coverage.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you are ineligible to file a workers’ compensation claim, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against those who caused you harm, provided that your situation meets certain criteria. To succeed, your personal injury case must (almost certainly) prove that those who caused you harm owed you a certain responsibility under the law known as a “duty of care.” You must then prove that they breached that duty they owed you by conducting themselves in negligent, reckless or intentionally harmful ways. Finally, you must prove that your injuries resulted directly from that breach of duty. There are exceptions to these criteria, but they only apply under rare circumstances.
If you are eligible to receive a workers’ compensation benefits claim, you may also file a personal injury lawsuit if your situation meets all of the criteria noted above. However, you cannot name your employer as a defendant in your lawsuit, whereas workers who aren’t eligible for workers’ comp can name anyone as a defendant in their lawsuits. This is because the workers’ compensation system affords certain limited liability protections to employers who pay for workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.