Hurt workers are usually able to get benefits from their employer's workers' compensation coverage. Some illness and injury situations may call for other actions, however. Read on to find out about your options when dealing with all the players in your injury.
Are You Covered?
Rules about who is covered with workers' comp vary from state to state. In most cases, employers who have a certain amount of employees are required to pay for the coverage for their employees. In other cases, though, the employees have no coverage either because it was not required or because the employer failed on their end to secure coverage.
Why Have Coverage?
Workers' compensation insurance came about as a way to keep hurt workers from filing suit against employers for accidents. Instead of filing a personal injury suit, the hurt worker could use their employer's policy to pay for both medical treatment costs and a partial disability wage while out of work. In addition, permanently hurt workers might be offered a settlement in lump-sum fashion.
No matter what your situation, you have choices. If your employer offers workers' compensation coverage, it might be the easiest and fastest way to gain benefits. If they don't offer coverage or you are unhappy with the coverage, you can always file a personal injury suit. Just be aware that you cannot gain compensation from both workers' comp and by suing your employer.
If you sue your employer, you could end up losing your job. There are protections, though, for employees that use workers' compensation insurance benefits.
If your employer has filed for bankruptcy, funds may still be available. Speak to a workers' compensation lawyer about making a claim on the case.
There are some rare instances where you can both file a lawsuit and collect workers' compensation benefits. If your illness or accident can be attributed to a third party, you can sue the third party company while collecting workers' comp benefits from the employer. To gain workers' comp coverage, you will need to show that your employer is at least partially responsible for your injury or illness. To gain personal injury compensation, you must show that the third-party contributed to your injury. For example, if a piece of equipment you were using on the job malfunctioned and injured you, may be able to sue the manufacturer of the equipment. You may also gain workers' comp benefits.
Know that personal injury cases and workers' compensation claims are two separate and very different things.
While this all sounds confusing, a simple consultation with a lawyer should help make things clearer. Speak to a workers' comp law firm to learn more.