Workers Compensation Claim
How to know when you have a worker’s 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 mean one would be a worker’s compensation claim and the other would be against the at-fault third party.
Do you have a Third Party Claim?
Worker’s compensation and third-party claims each have different recoveries you may be entitled to and processes. For example, under a worker’s 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 worker’s 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 worker’s 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 worker’s 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 worker’s 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 worker’s compensation claim, you don’t get to pick your doctors: the worker’s compensation insurance company dictates which doctors you see. However, in a third-party claim, you can go to any doctor you choose.
The theory of worker’s 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 worker’s compensation claim and a third party claim, we encourage them to seek their worker’s 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 656-222-2222.