Looking At Your Case From Every Angle – Part 2: How Workers’ Compensation & Personal Injury Work Together
As we talked about in our last post, the Workers’ Compensation Law (WCL) prevents employees from suing their employers for injuries they sustained on the job, with a few exceptions. This means that if you are hurt at work, even if it’s your employer’s fault, you usually can’t sue the company. However, in some circumstances, people are hurt on the job because someone besides their employer caused an accident. In that scenario, the employee could collect workers’ compensation benefits, because they were hurt on the job, AND he or she might be able to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party to collect money for things workers’ compensation benefits won’t cover, such as future lost wages or pain and suffering.
Consider this example: James is a truck driver. While unloading his truck, he is struck from behind by a driver who wasn’t paying attention and ends up with a broken leg. James now has two different kinds of legal actions. He can collect workers’ compensation benefits because he sustained an injury that arose out of his employment, AND he can bring a lawsuit against the driver of the other car because it was the driver’s fault that he was injured. Now, why would James want to bring both of these cases?
Lawsuits can take a very long time. Sometimes, it can take years to win a lawsuit and collect the money you are owed. So what can you do in the meantime? In James’ case, he can collect workers’ compensation benefits to help pay for his medical treatment and replace the wages he loses while he heals. Workers’ compensation benefits kick in within weeks of an accident, if you file immediately. So, while James waits for his lawsuit to resolve, he can receive money to help make ends meet from workers’ comp. By leveraging these two methods of compensation together, James is able to maximize his recovery.
Every case is different, and there may be avenues of compensation open to you that you haven’t even thought of. Make sure you contact a lawyer to discuss your particular situation.