Workers’ compensation is a perpetually hot topic. Many people hold jobs that increase their risk for personal injury due to their work environment or duties being dangerous. In fact, many jobs carry hidden risks of their own. Even office workers can develop repetitive stress injuries that cause them to miss work or accrue hefty medical bills.
In such a litigious culture like the United States, it is natural to want to sue your employer if their decisions have led to you becoming injured at work. However, unless there are some special circumstances, there usually isn’t much you can do.
The Impact of Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation laws provide a range of benefits to traditional employees that are injured or become ill from a work-related incident or source. Workers’ comp insurance is a mandatory part of operating a business in most states, so all employers should have it.
The benefits from workers’ comp cover costs like medical treatment, disability benefits, ongoing care costs, lost wages, and funeral expenses. Generally, when someone is injured or dies on the job, there are automatically approved payments from a workers’ comp provider.
What many people do not realize is that workers’ compensation laws provide just as much, if not more, protection to employers. Anything covered by workers’ compensation laws is generally unable to be the subject of a lawsuit. The coverage an employer provides can also cap the maximum benefits an employee can receive for specific claims.
This protection means that many employees are pushed into taking bad deals or accepting compensation that does not meet their actual needs. Working with a workers compensation lawyer based in Miami can help you avoid this legal trap.
While injuries at work are almost exclusively covered by workers’ compensation claims, there are some cases where you would be able to sue your employer for further compensation.
Many states have additional protections for employers in place, leaving injured workers in the wind. But, in some places, you can bring a lawsuit against your employer if you can prove that their decisions or actions that contributed to the workplace accident were grossly negligent.
If you can find proof that they knew of a hazardous situation and did not inform employees or remedy the situation, that would be negligence. Make sure you take thorough notes and record everything that has to do with your injury. An attorney can help you comb through the evidence to see what could be proved in court.
You Are an Independent Contractor
In almost every case, independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation laws. So if you receive a 1099 tax form instead of a W-2, the chances are that you are not eligible for workers’ comp. If that is the case, you may be able to sue your employer for compensation after a work-related accident.
A Bad-Faith Denial
If your employer has denied or altered your claim’s payout in bad faith, you have the grounds for a court battle after all. A denial made in bad faith could be as simple as denying your claim with no reason attached. Or, a manager may have decided to tuck your claim away with no intention of approving or denying it at all.
In some cases, claims may be approved for a much lower amount of compensation than the standard for your type of injury. This shady move could also expose your employer to a bad faith lawsuit. If the circumstances around your claim do not add up or you feel targeted, reach out to an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
It Was Intentional
If you were injured at work in a situation that was intentionally caused by your employer, then, of course, you have alternative legal options. Usually, in this case, it is one person that puts you in harm’s way. Typically, you can bring a lawsuit against this manager or coworker for full financial compensation of your personal injury claim.