What To Know When You're Injured On The Job
Getting injured while on the job is a stressful time. You are in pain and may not even be able to work. Luckily, workers compensation exists to help provide money for your medical expenses and lost wages. If you've been injured while working, check out these five important facts to help you navigate the confusing world of workers compensation.
You Have to Actually Be on the Job
The basic rule of workers compensation is that you have to actually be working at the time of the injury to be covered. If you headed out on your lunch break to grab a bite to eat, and you were injured in a car accident, you probably aren't covered. In addition, the injury usually has to be related to a work task. If you lifted some heavy boxes for work and developed a hernia, it's covered. However, if you already have a hernia, that's not covered, even if it causes pain when you work. On the other hand, if you have a preexisting condition and your job causes it to worsen or return, you may be covered.
It's Not Always Easy to Prove
In some cases, proving you were injured on the job isn't always so simple. This is often the case if you are injured in a car accident while working. If you ran out to deliver a package for a client and got into a car accident, you're probably fine. However, the confusion occurs when you mix personal errands and work errands. For example, if you delivered your package and then stopped to grab lunch and got into an accident, your employer may argue you were injured while running a personal errand. In these fuzzy situations, your best bet is to get a workers compensation attorney.
Even if it's Your Own Fault, You're Usually Covered
The great thing about workers compensation is that you don't have to prove who caused the injury. It's just there to help you when you're hurt while at work, so even if you are the cause for the accident, you're probably covered. There are some examples, however, when you aren't covered, such as if you are abusing drugs, or if you purposely hurt yourself so you could get workers compensation. If your company is strict and doesn't condone playful behavior, you may even be denied if you were messing around while you were supposed to be working.
In Some Instances, You Can Sue Your Employer
Workers compensation protects your employer from employee lawsuits. You don't have the right to choose between accepting a workers compensation settlement and suing your employer. In most cases, filing a workers compensation claim is your only option. You can't sue your employer. However, if your employer doesn't have workers compensation and is not self-insured, you can sue to get reimbursed for your injures. Likewise, if your employer purposely injured you by hitting you, you can usually file a personal lawsuit.
Sometimes You Can Sue Third Parties
In other cases, you can sue third parties for your work-related injuries if they are responsible for your injuries. In fact, you can file a workers compensation claim and file a personal third-party lawsuit. However, if you win the lawsuit, you usually have to repay workers compensation. Some examples of when you can sue a third party include: exposure to toxic substance, injured in a car accident and exposure to defective products.
In many cases, the injury is cut and dry, but there are some cases where it's difficult to prove if you were really injured on the job. If you're having a hard time getting the settlement you deserve, or if you feel a lawsuit is the best course of action, contact a workers compensation attorney from a firm like Hardee and Hardee LLP.