Disclaimer: If you have unfortunately suffered a personal injury while at work, the following information merely serves as general guidelines as to what you can expect in the legal process. However, this article is no substitute for the proper legal advice and you should speak with an accredited personal injury attorney in your area to clarify any further questions or concerns.
Whatever the job may be, experiencing an injury at work can be devastating for anyone. If you have been injured at work and can no longer work because of it, your situation can quickly become dangerous. You will lose income, need physical therapy, and may even require psychological treatment at some point. Being knowledgeable of your legal rights can help you from drowning in debt while you’re recovering. However, before you start making any legal actions and seeking compensation, there are key things to remember legally when you have a personal injury at work.
- You may not be able to sue your employer if the injury occurred at work.
Yes, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit against your employer if an injury occurs at work unless the case is of egregious and intentional misconduct. The purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage and Workers’ Compensation Boards, as much as possible, is to keep workplace injury cases away from courts. The set up may sound biased to some, but it’s beneficial on both sides, because it reduces the fees, makes the compensation process quicker, and prevents an adversarial relationship from happening.
If your employer has negligence on their part and that negligence results in you getting injured, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. In a situation where your employer might have been well-informed of the dangerous conditions at work, but they forced you into doing a hazardous job that’s far from your agreed upon responsibilities and involves unnecessary risk on your part, he/she is liable. If your employer has taken any aggressive action against you, and this move has resulted in an injury, then you can file a claim.
However, if a third party is involved, even if you can’t sue your employer, filing a lawsuit isn’t completely out of the question, as you can still file a lawsuit against the liable third party. One good example is that while delivering a box of pizza to a customer, you got hit by a car. You are entitled to a personal injury claim, and you may be able to sue the driver that was driving the vehicle that hit you. You may need this legal action for you to be compensated in full, especially if the extent and type of your injuries are severe and are preventing from working again.
Another good example is when a product you’re using at work is defective, has false claims regarding their qualities or has been improperly labeled and has caused you injury while at work, you can file a liability claim against the manufacturer.
- There are limitations to how much the injury compensation can cover.
It has been the general notion that an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance would be able to cover all the medical bills of an employee who has experienced a personal injury at work. Many think that the compensation should also cover the payment for any required treatment for an employee’s recovery. However, the decision of what kinds of necessary treatment covered by the compensation is not up to your doctor.
There are guidelines set by the Workers’ Compensation Board that designate acceptable required treatments for different kinds of injuries. Even though the Board works hard to update these guidelines, it is not comprehensive. The guidelines don’t keep up with the pace of advancement in medicine. Sometimes, they might not have included the “best medicine and treatment” for your injury.
If in any case your doctor has prescribed the best treatment and medicine for your injury, and the guideline doesn’t cover it, you may not ask him/her to complete an MG-2 form. In the form, your doctor would need to explain why this treatment or medicine is necessary for your recovery. However, the Board is not liable to grant you any variance and if this happens, you may need to file your case in front of a judge to be able to fight for the best treatment and medicine for your recovery.
- You can still claim compensation, even if your employer or the insurance carrier of your employer denies the claim.
There would be times when the employer or his/her insurance carrier would try to deny payment for an employee’s injury claim. They may challenge an employee’s injury or occupational disease claim. Any claim would then be contradicted, which may cause a delay to getting access for the payment of the recovery process. Worst case scenario, the judge may even deny the claim.
And if this happens to you, you can opt to apply for your state’s disability benefits after they contradicted the claim. You can receive the same benefits as someone disabled while your claim is in the controversion process. And if you end up winning the claim, your employer’s insurance carrier would be required to pay for the disability benefits you’ve received.
Going through the process of recovery and claiming payment for your medical care following a workplace injury is not easy. Just remember that the law protects you, even if you can’t sue your employer. You can fight for your best care even with the guidelines’ limitations, and you’re not alone even if they’ve denied you compensation. Legally, you’re the victim, and you have the rights, you just have to know where to stand.
Scott Jeffreys is a promising young law enthusiast that hopes to bring his youthful spirit in his field. He is currently writing for the Dolman Law Group and tries to add a refreshingly modern take to topics on the legal world that people can learn from. Scott enjoys his free time with friends and family, nd loves to cook for them.