Workplace injuries happen, especially in careers that require some sort of physical labor. Laws exist in every state that demand employers create a reasonably safe and secure work environment for their employees, but even the most careful companies can have accidents involving worker injuries. Injured workers have another dilemma to deal with as well - do they file a workers' compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit? These decisions often require the expertise of a personal injury lawyer, even if a personal injury claim isn't filed. And if you live in California, you'll want an experienced lawyer to handle your claim.
The Difference Between Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Claims
All states have laws regarding safe workplaces for employees and compensation structures for those who get hurt. In California, this means an employer must provide a workers compensation claim within one business day to injured workers. Withholding this ability to claim is illegal, as is firing the employee for sustaining an injury. Workers compensation claims can help an employee recoup lost wages for any time missed at work.
Personal injury claims in work accidents operate a little differently. First, as in all personal injury cases, it must be proved that the injury was a result of the negligence of someone, whether it's the employer's company or an outside contractors mistake. The main difference between these claim and workers compensation claims is the type of damages received.
Workers compensation claims do not allow for "non-economic damages". In personal injury cases, non-economic damages (or general damages) refer to the value associated with the quality of life of the injured party. In addition to recouping lost wages and medical bills, personal injury claims allow for compensation for emotional distress, depression, grief, anxiety, and other concepts where a monetary value is difficult to ascertain.
Be Sure to Consult a Lawyer
Personal injury lawsuits can be difficult on the injured person, especially if there's a long and intense recovery period. Tracking down the responsible entity can be difficult and workers often qualify for BOTH a workers compensation claims and a personal injury claim. For example, if you're hurt using a piece of equipment purchased by an outside source, you may be entitled to compensation from that company in addition to the funds you receive from workers comp. These civil lawsuits must be filed in the appropriate venue, so retaining a personal injury lawyer is the best way to make sure you get everything you're entitled to. If you've been injured on the job, follow these steps to ensure a swift resolution.
File a claim with your employer. This must be provided one business day after the accident and there's usually a limit to how long you have to move forward with the claim. Any attempt by your employer to coerce you out of filing a claim is illegal.
File your claim with the worker's compensation court. Doing this will notify both the courts and your employer's insurance company that an injury claim has been made.
Contact a personal injury lawer and weigh your options.
Rush Injury Law has experience in getting injured parties the compensation they deserve. If you've been hurt at work, even if you don't suspect negligence, contact our attorneys right away.