What is workers' compensation?
Workers' compensation provides benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses while working. In general, an employee with a work-related injury can receive workers' compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury. As a result of this no-fault system, employees usually lose their right to sue their employers in the event of a work-related accident.
Who pays workers' compensation benefits?
Most states require employers to carry workers' compensation insurance to cover on-the-job accidents. When an employee is injured at work, a claim is filed with the employer's insurance company, who will then pay medical and disability benefits based on state-approved guidelines.
What injuries are covered under workers' compensation?
Most work-related injuries are covered by workers' compensation. However, there are a few situations in which injuries will not be covered:
- Injuries sustained while an employee was intoxicated
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries caused by intentionally reckless behavior
What kind of benefits will I receive?
As part of workers' compensation, you will receive benefits for:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
Most states will allow you to collect two-thirds of your salary on workers' compensation. However, if your injuries are very serious and your future long-term earning potential is affected, you may be entitled to collect a significantly larger sum of money. The amount of this sum will depend on the nature and severity of your injuries.
Can I go to my own doctor for a workers' compensation claim?
Some states allow you to use your own doctor for workers' compensation claims if you make this request in writing before the injury occurs. However, most often you will be required to go to a doctor provided by your employer's insurance.
It is important to understand that the doctor's report will affect your settlement. Frequently, doctors provided by your employer's insurance company will downplay the seriousness of your injury or claim that it was due to a preexisting condition in order to receive future business. You should consult an attorney experienced in workers' compensation claims to ensure that you receive a fair settlement for your injuries.
Can I ever sue my employer in a workers' compensation case?
While the laws governing work-related injuries generally prevent you from suing your employer, there are a few exceptions. If you are injured as a result of reckless or intentional behavior from your employer, you may sue him for damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to collect punitive damages and be compensated for pain and suffering.
If your injury was due to the negligence of a third party, you may sue that party for damages. For example, if your injury was caused by defective machinery, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the equipment.
Please contact us today to find an experienced workers' compensation lawyer in your area.