Workplace accidents happen all too frequently. Injuries from workplace or on-the-job accidents can be minor or catastrophic. The more serious the injury, the more trouble you are going to have getting fairly compensated. We want to give you all the information you need after a workplace accident, so you can feel confident that you’re receiving all you are entitled to.
It’s important to state up front, you can receive compensation from your employer’s workers compensation insurance policy AND from a third-party company. If a third-party, or someone outside your company, partly or fully caused your injury, you can receive insurance money from both.
To answer this question, the first thing you want to consider is who was at fault for the accident that caused your injury? If you or a co-employee was at fault, then your claim is only a workers compensation claim. In other words, your only option is to make a claim for workers compensation benefits.
Every employer is required to carry workers compensation insurance (with a few exceptions). It’s considered a “no-fault” insurance. This means that no matter who is at fault for the accident, even if it’s you, your employer must report the claim to the insurer. And the insurer must pay the claims pursuant to the contract.
Workers compensation benefits include payment of medical bills and disability payments – 66% of your lost wages. If the employee died from the accident, surviving family members may receive weekly compensation for the lost income.
You do not receive general damages under a workers compensation claim. General damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, disfigurement, impairment, emotional distress, loss of consortium, etc. General damages are a huge part of anyone’s injury claim, so you can unfairly miss out on a lot of compensation when you don’t receive general damages.
You need to report the workers compensation claim as soon as possible. Your employer has 7 days to fill out a Form 122e and submit it to the insurer. The insurer must then contact you within 14 days of receiving Form 122e.
In addition to receiving workers compensation benefits, you may also make an injury claim against a third-party company.
For example, you are a lineman for an electric company. As you are preparing to locate utilities, the trenching company is unloading a skidsteer from a trailer. You are not an employee of the trenching company. While unloading the skidsteer, the skidsteer operator drives off the side of the trailer and flips the skidsteer onto your leg. Your leg is crushed and needs amputation.
Clearly, you have a third-party injury claim against the trenching company. Not only can you recover workers compensation benefits, but you can also recover money from the trenching company’s insurance carrier.
Unlike the workers compensation claim, you are entitled to general damages. This can add substantial amounts of money, even millions of dollars, to your claim. If you elect to not pursue a claim against the trenching company, you would not come close to getting fairly compensated for your tragic injury.
What initial information do you need to make your third-party and workers compensation claims?
If you are certain that a third-party is not at fault for your injuries, then you may not need a lawyer. The workers compensation carrier will simply pay your medical bills and your lost wages. However, if a dispute arises as to the treatment allowed or the disability payments allowed, you may need a workers compensation lawyer.
It’s not uncommon for workers compensation doctors to prematurely discharge you from treatment and provide no further treatment. Getting released will also stop your disability payments for wage loss. These doctors know who they are working for and will treat you poorly to help the worker compensation insurance company. Afterall, they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. In these instances, you need to hire a workers compensation lawyer.
If a third-party company or employee was completely or partially at fault, you should call a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer or workplace accident lawyer will help you get all the compensation you’re entitled to while also keeping the workers compensation carrier honest.
Here’s a list of some of the services Parker & McConkie would provide as your legal counsel for your workplace accident:
If you’ve been injured while working on the clock, give us a call. It’s free, and we can get you headed in the right direction. If you were injured on the job, we’d love to hear about your experiences dealing with workers compensation or third-party insurances.