In most cases, hurt workers would do well to depend on their employer's workers' compensation insurance to cover their needs. However, not all cases of being injured at work are appropriately covered by workers' comp. If your injury meets certain conditions, you may need to speak to a personal injury lawyer rather than a workers' compensation lawyer. Read on to find out why.
Workers' Compensation Has Limits
Even though workers' compensation was invented to stop workers from filing personal injury lawsuits against their employers, not every type of injury is adequately covered by workers' compensation benefits. However, if you are dealing with serious injuries or the injury was the result of negligence, you could be better off speaking to a personal injury lawyer first. Workers' compensation may not pay workers as much as they should. Part of that is because an insurance company is not the same thing as suing a company directly. Insurers will make you wait, delay claim approvals, and deny benefits to some workers.
Those with permanent injuries may be entitled to a lump sum payment. However, being paid enough to substitute for a lifetime of missed income can be challenging if you are dealing with a workers' compensation insurer.
Negligence Makes a Difference
When it's more than an accident, you may be owed more money. Employers that try to cut costs by not properly training workers, allowing equipment to malfunction, or allowing unsafe working conditions may be negligent. When a case involves negligent behavior, it may be time to make an example of the company. Filing a lawsuit can bring attention to a business that is not doing a good job of protecting its workers. You could be saving someone's life by taking legal action. Bad publicity can result from lawsuits, but they can also spur change.
If you win your case, you can be paid for everything a workers' compensation case would bring and more. You can sue for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. In some cases, the jury can decide to award you money on top of your damages in the form of punitive damages. This sum of money may be several times the amount of your other damages. That type of award sends a message to employers that don't take safety seriously enough and may prevent others from being hurt as you were.
Speak to a personal injury lawyer before you use any workers' compensation benefits. They can advise you on what to do next.
Contact a law firm like Frenkel & Frenkel to learn more.