When Can You File a Personal Injury Claim in Addition to Workers’ Comp?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Kathleen M. Reilly with Brady Brady & Reilly, LLC.
Workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as “workers’ comp” is designed to help an employee cover their medical bills and lost wages in the case of a workplace injury or accident. Most employers are required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance to ensure that both they and their employees are protected in the case of an accident and to prevent the need for a personal injury claim in order to recoup losses due to the incident.
The Exclusive Remedy Act is a law designed to prevent both the employer and employee from taking unfair advantage after a workplace accident.
This act is intended to provide compensation to cover medical expenses and partial lost wages while protecting the employer from a lawsuit. However, situations do arise where an injured worker is eligible to file a personal injury claim in addition to workers’ compensation. It should be noted that many workers’ comp attorneys recommend filing for workers’ comp before beginning your personal injury claim; this way you can begin to receive financial help with your medical bills and lost wages right away, whereas compensation from a personal injury claim could take longer to receive.
If your employer fails to provide or maintain sufficient workers’ comp insurance, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim in addition to workers’ comp.
Some rare companies may not be required to provide workers’ compensation. If this is true, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim against your employer in order to seek compensation for your financial damages due to a work accident. Similarly, if your employer does offer workers’ comp but it is insufficient to cover your damages, you might be eligible to file a claim against your employer for the remaining amount. Employers are required to pay for and maintain their workers’ comp insurance each year, so if your employer fails to keep their workers’ comp plan up to date and are unable to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, etc., filing a personal injury claim might be one of your only remaining methods to try and recoup your losses.
If your injury occurred due to negligence on the part of your employer, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim in addition to workers’ comp.
Another situation in which you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim against your employer in addition to workers’ comp is when your employer’s negligence caused the work accident to occur. Some common examples of negligence that result in worker injuries and illnesses include failure to follow industry safety rules, failure to properly maintain equipment, failure to provide adequate training, failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment, and failure to enforce safety protocol. If one or more of these acts of negligence contributed to your injury, you could be eligible to file a claim against your employer and should report the breach of safety conduct to the appropriate agency. Negligence may occur willfully when an employer is aware of an issue but refuses to address it, or may occur unintentionally which can be just as harmful, such as forgetting to provide routine maintenance on a piece of work equipment or failing to remove defective elements from the workspace. If you were injured at work and your workers’ comp is insufficient to cover your damages, or your injuries occurred as a result of employer negligence, you could be eligible to file a personal injury claim. To learn more about personal injury claims and workers’ comp, seek legal counsel.