St. Louis, MO
Home ► Do I Qualify for a Workers Compensation Lawsuit?
Work-related injuries are unfortunately a common part of many different professional fields. Fortunately, workers are covered by state’s worker’s compensation laws, which protect workers from paying out of pocket to cover medical costs and lost wages due to work-related injuries.
Workers compensation is statutory, meaning every state requires employers (of a certain size) to offer worker’s compensation coverage for employees who are injured on the job. The specific details and process of filing a workers compensation claim differ state-by-state. However, all states workers compensation laws include a no-fault process that protects both employees and employers.
Unlike most personal injury cases, workers compensation claims are not required to show fault. This significantly simplifies the claims process by eliminating the need for the court system. Under this system, evidence of the injury at work is the only proof that an employee needs to receive compensation. In exchange for a simplified process and quick payoffs, employers are protected from lawsuits brought against them over work-related injury (except in specific situations).
Despite being “no-fault,” you should consider hiring a lawyer for your workers’ compensation lawsuit.
Workers compensation laws are created to benefit both the employee and employer. The employee is guaranteed a quick payoff to cover their damages without the hassle of dealing with the courts. In exchange, the employer is protected from personal injury lawsuits regarding the injury. Most often, workers should be able to handle workers compensation claims out of court. However, if your employer disputes your claim, or you run into any of the aforementioned situations, you will likely need legal help.
However, the worker’s compensation claim process can be very complex, involving time-sensitive deadlines and very specific paperwork. Along with these speed bumps in the worker’s compensation claim process, creating a full list of damages along with the proper tangible evidence to prove these damages is nothing short of complicated.
Hiring a workers compensation lawyer to direct your workers’ compensation lawsuit can be very beneficial. You can focus on the healing process while your lawyer takes care of the hassles of filing a strong claim, ensuring that you get the full compensation that you deserve.
Workers compensation protects workers from:
Workers should not expect to be compensated for any injury that occurs while they are working while in an impaired state, acting in direct violation of employer rules or guidelines, or injuries resulting from participating in a non-work related activity while at work.
Besides workers compensation, there are two other primary types of disability: state disability benefits and social security disability insurance (SSDI). It is important to familiarize yourself with the differences in the three types of disability so that you know which disability you are eligible to receive.
The three primary parties involved in a workers compensation lawsuit are the worker, the employer, and an insurance provider. These three parties arbitrate fair compensation based on the degree of the injuries and following the guidelines set by state workers compensation laws.
Workers receive compensation for work-related injuries in the form of benefits. These benefits include any medical costs involved with the injury at work and partial wage payments (average of 2/3 of normal wages) for the duration of the lost work time. The length of these payouts and maximum payouts are capped by state workers compensation laws. 2/3’s may seem unfair, but these payouts are not taxed, so they actually translate fairly closely to most normal paychecks.
The Four Different Levels of Disability
The amount of coverage and duration of partial wage payments is determined by the degree of disability of an employee. There are four degrees of disability:
Along with medical costs and lost wages, employees may be entitled to other benefits for work-related injuries.
Physical and vocational rehabilitation costs are often covered by workers compensation. These include any costs involved in physical rehabilitation necessary for a worker to get back to work or any vocational training that a worker must undergo in order to take on a working role for the employer.
Punitive damages are not commonly included in workers compensation benefits. In the case where injuries are substantial enough to be considered life-altering, the employer may receive an additional lump-sum for damages.
In the case that a work-related accident results in an employee’s death, the immediate family of the deceased may be entitled to death benefits. If no immediate family exists, the next-of-kin, which is often determined through administrative hearings, becomes the beneficiary of any death benefits. These benefits included a capped sum that covers funeral expenses and compensation in the sum of partial normal wages. These sums are set by state workers compensation laws.
A common issue with a workers compensation lawsuit is the tendency for employers and employees to make off-record settlements so that the employer’s insurance rates remain intact. An off-record settlement may seem enticing, especially if the employer offers higher compensation than you would expect to receive through workers compensation proceedings, but there are many problems that can arise if you do not follow the procedures set by your state’s worker compensation laws.
For workers, off-record settlements mean that you are forfeiting some of the protections that workers compensation allows you. You are not guaranteed to be paid the full settlement, your position may not be protected, and if your injury at work results in future costs, these costs may not fall upon your employer.
For employers, workers compensation laws protect from future lawsuits brought against them by an employee injured on the job.
Workers compensation laws were created to benefit both the worker and the employer. Following these laws is the only way to ensure a positive outcome for both parties.
There are a number of common situations in which legal action taken against an employer outside of the worker’s compensation makes more sense.
Last Modified: March 19th, 2019 @ 01:59 pm
© 2019 TorHoerman Law LLC.
The contents of this webpage have been prepared by TorHoerman Law, LLC for informational purposes only. None of this information is intended as either legal or medical advice or opinions. No attorney/client relationship is established with use of this website. Sending or receiving information through this site, posting to our blogs/news site does not establish an attorney/client relationship. An attorney/client relationship with TorHoerman Law is established only by an express and written agreement by TorHoerman Law to represent you. Our attorneys make a case-by-case assessment of any claims and results may vary depending on the facts concerning any case. The attorneys at TorHoerman Law are licensed to practice in Illinois, Missouri, and California. In some circumstances, cases may be sent to other qualified lawyers. In those circumstances, TorHoerman Law maintains joint responsibility.