Getting hurt at work could mean major financial issues. If the injury is bad enough, you might have to take several weeks off of work to recover. You also have medical bills to think about, which could be thousands of dollars. If your injury is severe, you may not ever be able to go back to the same line of work you once performed.
Once you know your diagnosis and have started receiving treatment, your thoughts will likely turn to the financial issues that your injury will cause you. Workers who get hurt on the job often find themselves wondering what options they have.
Thankfully, there are laws that protect anyone who gets hurt at work. Employees may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits or may even have a personal injury claim. What is the primary difference between these two forms of compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a protection provided by your employer
State law mandates that employers carry workers’ compensation coverage to protect their employees from losses related to work-acquired medical conditions and the company from financial liability.
Workers’ compensation benefits cost the injured worker nothing. The policy will cover all necessary medical costs without any co-pay or deductible. Workers’ compensation can also provide some of your workers lost wages during their recovery or even give them permanent disability benefits if they can’t go back to work or can’t earn the same wage they once did.
Workers’ compensation benefits generally apply to any covered worker regardless of fault or the extent of the injuries and usually start covering someone immediately after they get hurt.
Personal injury rights demand that you take legal action
While workers’ compensation is an insurance program in place to protect all workers, personal injury rights require that someone stand up for themselves. State law does protect employers from personal injury claims in many cases. You will typically have to show that their negligence or law-breaking caused your injury.
However, workers don’t just have the option of taking civil action against their employer. Sometimes it is another company or a different person who is responsible for someone’s injuries. A company that manufactured defective machinery, for example, could cause a work accident. That worker could potentially sue the company that made the defective device.
If an employee gets hurt by someone’s drunk driving or violent act while on the job, they can potentially pursue a personal injury claim against the person who hurt them. They can ask the courts to award them compensation for their losses and medical expenses, although it may take some time to get to that point.
Some people who get hurt at work may find that they qualify for workers’ compensation and possibly have a valid personal injury claim. Exploring the compensation available can help you respond appropriately after getting hurt at work.