Work is unfortunately not always a safe place. A variety of work-related accidents can occur on many types of jobs. These accidents may cause injuries that require extensive medical treatment, and an injured worker may miss weeks or months of work for recovery. These accidents may even cause a death that creates a tragic and unexpected hardship for families. Workers’ compensation is the system of laws that seeks to ensure injured workers and their dependents get the proper care and financial support they need for recovery without requiring the worker to litigate against their employer.
Workers’ Compensation Versus a Personal Injury Lawsuit
It is important to understand that a workers compensation claim is not a lawsuit. There does not have to be any wrongdoing or negligence on behalf of the employer in order to invoke rights under workers’ compensation. It must simply be demonstrated that the injury occurred at the workplace or because of work-related activities. If there is some proof of negligence or even intentional law violations that contributed to the injury, then the worker will need to decide with their attorney whether or not to peruse an actual personal injury lawsuit. This is a critical decision because a worker cannot collect on both a lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim. Choosing to peruse a lawsuit, which could result in overall higher compensation, means abandoning the more reliable promise of workers’ compensation.
What an Attorney Can Do
Attorneys like those at Bachus & Schanker Law work to ensure that an injured employee gets all of the benefits they are entitled to under the law. Unfortunately, it is common for employers to argue against extensive compensation claims whenever possible. Since these claims present a cost to the employer, it is normal for the employer to minimize these costs. This often means shortchanging employees when it comes to payment for medical care or lost wages.
Differences in Laws
A variety of different laws may affect a workers’ compensation case depending on the worker’s particular job and location. In Colorado, the Division of Workers Compensation oversees most claims in the state. This may change if the worker is a federal employee. Even if they work in Colorado, their claim will fall under the laws outlined in the Federal Employment Compensation Act. Certain professions, including those in the railroad, maritime and mining industries, also have additional laws that pertain to them.
All injured workers should file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible after being injured. The laws related to a claim can be complicated to understand or navigate. No employee should be forced to suffer additional financial or personal hardship after an injury due to an supportive employer, which is why workers’ compensation aims to protect employees.
This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her four-year-old husky Snowball.