If you’ve been injured or made ill on the job, especially if the harm you suffered was not your fault, you’re likely wondering if you have any opportunities for legal recourse available to you at this time. Chances are that you do have grounds to file a compensation-related claim. The question therefore, is whether you should file a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim, or both kinds of claims. The answer to this question will depend upon the unique circumstances that surround your situation. Once you meet with a work injury lawyer, like from Hickey & Turim, P.C., you’ll receive personalized guidance that will allow you to make an informed decision about any and all options available under the circumstances.
Should You File a Workers’ Comp Claim, a Personal Injury Claim, or Both?
Most full-time and part-time employees who work for companies that employ more than a handful of workers are eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that even if the accident or set of circumstances that led to your injuries was partially or totally your fault, you should be able to file a successful workers’ compensation claim. The primary caveats to this situation are that your injuries must have been caused by work-related activities and/or been sustained while you were engaging in work-related activities, you cannot have been drunk or drugged at the time your injuries occurred, and you will not receive compensation if your injuries were caused by an altercation you started or an accident you engineered for the purpose of securing benefits.
The workers’ compensation system limits employer liability. As a result, if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you almost certainly can’t sue your employer for the harm you suffered as a result of your work-related injuries. However, you may be eligible to file a personal injury suit (even if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits) if a third-party contributed to the harm you suffered. For example, if you cut your fingers off while using a defective table saw, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of that table saw. Note that personal injury claims do turn on issues of fault. If you are more than 50 percent responsible for the harm you’ve suffered, it’s unlikely your personal injury claim will be successful.
You can also potentially file a successful personal injury claim against a third party (and potentially against the company that you provide work-related services for) if you’re an independent contractor or are otherwise ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Unlike the no-fault workers’ compensation system, you must prove that the party or parties that harmed you owed you a so-called “duty of care” under the law, breached that duty, and caused your injuries as a result of that breach. Our firm can explain what this means for your case specifically during your consultation.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you haven’t yet scheduled a confidential, strings-free consultation with a law firm yet, please do so now. Exploring your legal options will cost you nothing but your effort now may benefit you significantly moving forward. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you during this challenging time.