Every seven seconds in the U.S., a worker sustains an injury while on the job. That’s 12,300 injured workers every day and 4.5 million per year, according to the National Safety Council. Although occupations like service (police and firefighters) and construction trades are among the most high-risk jobs, any type of worker in any type of industry can potentially get injured while on the job. Do you know what to do if it happens to you? Depending on the circumstances, you might only file a workers’ compensation claim. But in some cases, injured workers might also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. You can talk to a personal injury attorney to get recommendations that are specific to your situation.
When to file a workers’ comp claim
Workers’ compensation is an insurance system that pays for the medical expenses of employees who sustain injuries while on the job. This includes injuries sustained at the worksite and those that occur away from the office, as long as the worker was engaged in a work-related activity at the time. In addition to getting medical expenses covered, injured workers may be able to receive a portion of their lost wages if they must remain out of work for a minimum length of time.
In most cases, injured workers will only file a workers’ comp claim, not a personal injury claim. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, which means it doesn’t matter whether the employee was at fault for the accident or not. This is a valuable protection for employees. Workers’ comp also protects employers by prohibiting injured employees from suing their employers under most circumstances.
When to file a personal injury claim
Although injured workers can’t sue their employer, some of them may be able to bring a personal injury claim against a third party. For example, if John Employee was driving the company van to make a delivery when Gary Driver struck the van, inflicting injuries on John, then John may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against Gary. This claim would be in addition to the workers’ comp claim. The lawsuit may enable John to recover damages that aren’t available through workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that, unlike a workers’ comp claim, the success of a personal injury claim relies on establishing liability. A personal injury attorney needs to review the case to determine whether the evidence suggests that a third party was at fault for the injuries. After filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injured worker may decide to accept a settlement deal (if one is offered). Otherwise, the case may go to court.
Get legal guidance you can count on in Louisiana
As a skilled litigator with experience handling both workers’ comp and personal injury cases, Bart Bernard is well-situated to provide the legal guidance you need when you’re hurt at work. Whether you need to file a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim in the Lafayette, Louisiana area, you can turn to the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers for the help you need. But remember: time is limited to file a claim. The sooner you act, the better. Get in touch today to find out about your legal rights and options. Click Bart First, Call Bart First™!
Additional resources for injured workers:
- Louisiana Workforce Commission, Frequently Asked Questions From Employees and Employers about Rights and Responsibilities in Workers’ Compensation, http://www.laworks.net/FAQs/FAQ_WorkComp_RightsAndResponsibilities.asp
- National Safety Council, Workplace Injuries, https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/tools-resources/infographics/workplace-injuries