When Workers Compensation Doesn’t Cover Your Expenses
Have you been injured at work and told the only compensation you’re entitled to receive is from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance? The purpose of workers’ compensation is to strike an equitable agreement between employers and employees when someone has been hurt or injured at the job. The worker gives up his/her right to sue their employers in court in exchange for the security of workers’ compensation benefits.
While workers’ compensation payments are typically smaller than those obtained from lawsuits, employees are eligible for support during drawn-out court proceedings. However, there are many exceptions to the rule, and you should be aware of them before agreeing to give up your right to sue. Ask yourself these questions and see if your situation counts as a possible exception before giving up any of your rights:
- Did you receive an injury due to a defective product? The manufacturer of the product can be held responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to your injury if they knew the product was dangerous and didn’t inform your place of work.
- Were you injured or made sick by a toxic substance? Many work environments use harsh chemicals, such as asbestos, benzene, chromium compounds, silica, and radium that can cause severe injuries and illnesses. There are two main types of toxic injuries: acute and latent. While acute injuries are noticeable right away, latent injuries may take years to appear. Some examples of acute injuries could be chemical burns and poisonings. Cancers and lung diseases are examples of latent injuries. Workers have been successful in latent injury lawsuits involving asbestosis or mesothelioma as well as acute injury lawsuits.
- Were you injured because of your employer’s egregious conduct? In Florida, if your employer does something that’s grossly negligent or reckless, you can sue your employer for damages. Often this will be more than what you would receive through workers’ compensation. Keep in mind that the federal government does not allow its employees to sue in these circumstances.
- Did your employer fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance? If your employer is uninsured, you have the right to sue them in civil court for your injuries. This provides the opportunity to get more money than you would with workers’ compensation, but the burden of proof now becomes your responsibility.
- Did a third party cause your injury? If you were hurt at work and it was not the fault of your employer, but the result of a dangerous substance or faulty machine, you may be eligible to sue the third party.
Exception to the rule varies from state to state. To learn whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit for your work-related claim, consult a personal injury attorney familiar with workers’ compensation in your statewho will seek maximum compensation on the your behalf.