Workers Compensation Claim
How to know when you have a workers compensation claim
If you have been injured on the job, there are a few things you should do to protect all of your rights. First, report your injury to your employer. Second, seek good medical attention right away. Third, try to document what caused your injury. Fourth, if you were injured by the fault of another person who is not a co-employee or your employer, then you may have what is called a “Third Party Claim” against the “at-fault” person or business who caused your injuries. If this is the case, call an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine whether you should make two separate, distinct claims for your injuries. Two distinct claims means one would be a workers compensation claim and the other would be against the at-fault third party.
Do you have a Third Party Claim?
Workers compensation and third party claims each have different recoveries you may be entitled to and processes. For example, under a workers compensation claim, they pay your medical bills but only pay two thirds of your salary. If a third party claim can be made, then you are entitled to recover all of your lost wages and future loss of earning capacity, in addition to many other types of compensation. Many people mistakenly believe a workers compensation claim is the only way they can recover their lost wages and medical bills. However, the at-fault third party may be responsible for the harm they caused by their negligence. If you have been injured by a defective product, such as a crane or truck while on the job, then you might be able to make a recovery from the product manufacturer in addition to your workers compensation claims benefits.
Workers Compensation Claim vs Third Party Claim
If you can bring a third party claim, your recovery is going to be significantly greater than just the benefits available through your workers compensation claim. For example, if you are out of work, workers compensation only pays you two thirds of your wages and there is a cap on how much they will pay. However, in a third party claim, you are entitled to recover 100% of your lost wages in the past and future without any cap. In a workers compensation claim, you don’t get your fringe benefits, but in a third party claim you are entitled to 100% of your fringe benefits. In a workers compensation claim, you are not entitled to any money for pain, suffering, mental anguish or loss of enjoyment of life; but in a third party claim, you are able to recover all of those valuable losses. In a workers compensation claim, you don’t get to pick your doctors: the workers compensation insurance company dictates which doctors you see. However, in a third party claim, you can go to any doctors you choose.
The theory of workers compensation claims is to pay for medical treatments and some lost wages, but most importantly they want to get you back to work as fast as possible. In a third party claim, the laws are designed to make you “whole again.” In other words, third party claims allow everything to be fixed, help what can be helped, and make up for things that can’t be fixed or helped. When we represent clients who have both a workers compensation claim and a third party claim, we encourage them to seek their workers compensation benefits and allow us to go after the at-fault party. This means there are actually two cases going forward at the same time. The bottom line is in any injury case, it is important to consider all of your options and select the ones that are right for you. If you have any doubts about your legal rights after an injury, please call me, Matt Powell, at 813-222-2222.