Many injuries are the result of job-related accidents. Workers’ compensation laws provide various benefits to workers injured on the job. Workers’ compensation benefits usually provide payment for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary disability payments
- Permanent disability benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Death benefits and burial expenses to a deceased worker’s dependents
In almost all states, employers must prove for payment of workers’ compensation benefits to every employee who is unable to work because of a job-related injury. Workers’ compensation laws and benefits apply to employee injuries that arise in the course of employment.
Workers’ compensation laws require employers to be responsible for a worker’s injuries without regard to the employee’s own carelessness or fault. However, because of this, the law generally does not allow the employee to recover from the employer in any legal action other than workers’ compensation, although there may be exceptions.
However, even though you may not be permitted under the law to sue your own employer, if you are injured in a work-related accident, you still may be able to sue other parties who are responsible or partially responsible for your injury or accident.
For example, an electrical panel or switch that you or a coworker are working on explodes because of a defect. You could receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer, and you could also bring a separate lawsuit against the manufacturer and/or distributor of the defective electrical panel or part.
Unlike a workers’ compensation case, where you may only recover a small percentage of your losses, in a third party claim, you can recover for losses not reimbursed by workers’ compensation along with damages for disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
It is of vital importance that a prompt and thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your work-related injury take place as quickly as possible. This investigation should be conducted by your attorneys, their investigators, and experts who determine exactly what caused or contributed to the cause of your accident or injury. Photographs, witness statements, and evidence must be secured as quickly as possible after a serious work-related injury to fully protect your legal rights.