Under most circumstances, you cannot sue your employer for an injury on the job. States have laws limiting employers’ liability when it comes to workers hurt handling job-related tasks. Still, there are other options for pursuing compensation, medical care, and other benefits.
In some cases, a third party may also be legally responsible for a workplace injury. When this occurs, you can often hold that party accountable. You may want to work with a personal injury law firm to determine your options following an on-the-job injury.
Workers’ Compensation Provides Coverage for Most Injured Employees
Each state has a workers’ compensation law and rules for ensuring injured employees get the medical care, wage loss coverage, and other benefits they need to make ends meet while they heal or adjust to a new impairment. Examples in the Gulf South include:
- Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act
- Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission
- Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Law
- Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act
In general, workers’ compensation will pay out when:
- A covered employee suffers an acute injury at work.
- The worker has a chronic use injury related to their job.
- They receive a diagnosis of a work-related illness.
Which Companies Offer Workers’ Compensation?
Most workers have access to workers’ compensation coverage. While the rules differ somewhat between states, they usually require company’s over a certain size to obtain coverage, such as businesses with three or five workers. There may be exclusions for domestic workers, farmworkers, and others in specific industries.
In addition, many companies excluded from mandatory coverage still opt to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees.
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Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation
The benefits available to an injured worker approved for workers’ compensation include:
Workers’ compensation should pay the doctor and other medical care costs directly. This should cover any prescribed treatment, hospitalization, and other related expenses. However, state laws differ about which doctor an injured employee must see and their options for a second opinion.
Wage Loss Benefits
Injured workers can get wage loss benefits while they are away from work. This compensation generally equals about two-thirds of their usual wage up to a maximum set by state law. There are also different laws in each state about when this benefit begins and how long it lasts.
Workers’ compensation may include disability payments for workers who cannot return to their job. The amount and details of these programs depend on the injuries, impairments, and state law. They include temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability.
Vocational Training and Support
When a worker cannot return to their previous job because of their injuries, they may receive additional vocational training and support to:
- Learn a new trade or new job skills
- Learn how to do their old job or related tasks despite a new disability
If a worker dies from their on-the-job injuries, their family should receive help paying for the funeral and other end-of-life costs, a one-time death benefit payment, and possibly other benefits.
Other Options for Recovering Compensation After an on-the-Job Injury
In situations when there is no workers’ compensation insurance, and you cannot sue your employer, you may still have financial recovery options.
Federal Programs Provide Rights to Some Workers
Many industries not covered by state workers’ compensation laws fall under federal jurisdiction. For example, maritime and harbor workers are not protected by state law. However, they have options for pursuing benefits and compensation based on:
You May Have a Case Against a Liable Third Party
In some cases, a third party plays a role in an accident. The injured worker can sue the third party to recover damages when this occurs. This is possible in addition to workers’ compensation benefits, if they are available.
For example, imagine a delivery driver struck you while unloading a truck at your work. You could file a case against that driver and their employer and pursue damages such as:
- Any unpaid medical bills
- Additional wage losses
- Reduced ability to work and earn a living
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other intangible losses
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How Can an Attorney Help with My Workplace Injury Case?
If there is an issue with your workers’ compensation benefits or you believe you have a third-party claim, you may want to connect with an attorney near you who regularly handles these cases. Our workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers provide free case reviews and represent clients based on contingency fees.
If you choose to work with our firm, we will take over your case and manage your claims from start to finish. Our lawyers will fight for your best interests based on the facts of your case.
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The Morris Bart law firm provides complimentary case reviews to injured workers in the areas we serve, including Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Call (800) 537-8185 for your free consultation with our lawyers today.
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