On-the-Job Accidents and Workers' Compensation
Injuries suffered on the job can be life-altering and severe, forcing an employee to be disabled from work for an extended period of time or permanently, incurring costly medical bills, and of course, lost wages. However, unlike standard negligence cases, workers' compensation claims follow a different path and are processed through a separate system in Maryland, the District, and Virginia.
In the case of workers' compensation, as long your injury arises out of something associated with your work and happens during the course (time frame) when you are on the clock, it is most likely compensable. However, unlike negligence claims that we discuss throughout our site, there are several differences.
First, assuming it meets the two elements noted above, with few exceptions, you are automatically going to be compensated as long as you file the right paperwork on time, and of course, you can prove the incident and injury.
Second, even if you were responsible for your own accident and did not intentionally injure yourself, there is no employer defense of contributory negligence. So, for example, your employer cannot use your negligence against you to defeat or limit the claim.
Third, you are NOT allowed to bring a separate lawsuit against your employer, even if it was responsible or its negligence caused your accident. This is what is known as the "exclusive remedy" rule. The worker agrees to uncontested compensation, so to speak, in return for not being able to sue his employer.
Fourth, and finally, you cannot recover for pain and suffering. Recovery is strictly limited to your medical bills, your lost wages, and any documented permanency you may have from the injury.
What Benefits Does Workers' Compensation Provide?
- Medical coverage for expenses related to the injury
- Rehabilitative treatment
- A certain percent of lost wages or earnings
- Retraining support to help the person return to the workforce
- Death benefits for the family if the worker dies on the job
- No benefits for pain and suffering
Act Quickly: If you have been injured on the job, there are strict time limits, which are much shorter than in negligence cases. You generally must notify your employer within 30 days of the accident and file a claim within a year.
If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident, make sure you know your legal rights. Our experienced Maryland, District, and Virginia workers' compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC, has many years of experience helping victims of construction and other workplace accidents obtain the compensation they deserve. In many cases, you may be eligible to file both a workers' compensation claim and a negligence lawsuit.
To find out how our construction accident injury attorney can help you, schedule a free consultation today.
Navigating the Workers' Compensation System
The workers' compensation system can offer you help, but only if you can navigate the system effectively and understand your rights. An experienced attorney can help ensure that you are treated with fairness and that you are able to recover the compensation that you need.
Know that employers and insurance companies understand the complexities of the system inside and out. States require them to carry workers' compensation insurance to protect you if you are injured, however, even though payment is quicker and presents fewer obstacles than a lawsuit, the process is more complicated than it seems. Many injured workers face long processing delays or even outright denials of their claims. When you have suffered a severe injury, it is crucial that you receive compensation as soon as possible to pay medical bills and make up for lost income.
Attorney Stuart L. Plotnick and his team can help you file an accurate, airtight workers' compensation claim. If you already filed a claim that was denied, we will help you counter it with an effective appeal.
Do I Have Other Claims I Can File if Injured on the Job?
Even though employers are protected by the workers' compensation system by the exclusive remedy rule, you can still file a lawsuit against any third parties who were liable for your injuries. "Third parties" are other people or companies who may be responsible for your accident but have no relation to your employer.
For example, if you are driving on a work-related errand at the time of the accident, and you are hit by a driver who has nothing to do with your employer, you can still bring a claim and file a lawsuit against her/him because they are not a part of your employer.
Since workers' compensation often limits the amount of compensation you can receive, a third-party lawsuit is often the only way to receive compensation for the full financial impact your injuries have had on your life.
In short, if you've been hurt on the job, you may have several legal options – but the only way to find out is to talk to an experienced attorney who knows the law and can thoroughly investigate your work accident. Don't end up leaving money on the table. Contact us today to speak with an experienced work injury attorney about your potential case.