Workers are often injured in the course and scope of their employment and they have a workers’ compensation claim to recover from medical bills and lost wages as a result of their injury. The workers’ compensation system is a “No-Fault” system where the employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier are obligated to provide medical benefits and lost wages regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Workers’ Compensation accidents can arise from motor-vehicle accidents, slip-and-falls, injuries from products used by employees during their work or even an animal attack while visiting a customer’s home and property.
While often overlooked, an injured employee is able to make a claim for a second case if the person who is at fault for the injury is someone other than the employer. This means that you can sue: an adverse driver that causes an accident; the owner of a property who created a dangerous condition causing a slip and fall accident; the manufacture, distributor or retailer of a unreasonably dangerous product causing injury; or the owner of a dangerous dog that attacks causing injuries.
What is important to understand is that the second case allows you to make a claim for pain and suffering which is an element of damages that you cannot recover through the workers’ compensation system. The pain and suffering element of a personal injury claim for a permanent injury is measured with respect to the life expectancy of the injured person. It is not uncommon to recover compensation for the pain and suffering in an amount that greatly exceeds the present money value of medical care needs and lost wages. Despite the best medical advancements, some injures can never be fully cured resulting in chronic pain for which you are entitled to recover from the party at fault for the injury.
It is also important to understand that the employer has a duty and responsibility to cooperate with its employees in identifying a party that may be at fault for the employees injury and maintain evidence that may help the employee establish its right to recover money damages in a personal injury case. It is important to work with a qualified lawyer to request from the employer and workers’ compensation insurance carrier as much information as is available, to investigate a personal injury case against the at fault party; and develop theories of liability as soon after the accident as possible because the memories of witnesses may fade. Often times, employers and insurance carriers do not realize the value of evidence and it is discarded, photographs of the accident scene or property involved in the accident are not captured or the employer simply fails to thoroughly investigate an accident. In some instances, an injured worker may even be able to make a claim against their employer for failing to cooperate with their potential claim against an at fault party under the workers’ compensation statute or for failing to preserve evidence directly.
Experience makes all the difference. If you need help or just have a question we invite you to contact us today for a free initial consultation. You can take comfort in the fact that everything that you tell us will remain completely confidential and if we accept your case you will never pay us even a penny unless we win money for you from a jury verdict or a settlement. You can contact us 24/7/365. We are available to meet with you anytime and anywhere.