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Workers' compensation benefits may not be the sole remedy

When a worker is injured by an on-the-job accident, it is important to timely notify the employer and file a claim for workers’ compensation.

Yet that initial filing may not be the end of the matter. Readers may not realize that many workers’ compensation initial claims may be denied, in whole or part. Even if some benefits are awarded, they may be inadequate. In these scenarios, a worker may need to consult with an attorney to fight for adequate compensation for lost wages, medical or other treatments, and temporary and/or permanent disability benefits. 

Notably, eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury should not depend on whether the employer or the employee was at fault. Employers carry a workers’ compensation policy in order to be able to pay the medical bills and other covered expenses of injured employees. In turn, those employees generally are not allowed to file suit against their employers or co-workers on the ground of negligence.

However, the element of a third party’s actions can change the analysis. The rationale is akin to the insurance model, where a third party may be outside the scope of the coverage. In the workplace, there can be many potential third parties at fault. From equipment and product manufacturers to contractors, subcontractors or other workers or property owners, the list of potentially negligent third parties can be extensive.

An injured worker may be able to bring a personal injury claim against those third parties, seeking damages not generally covered by workers’ compensation benefits, including out-of-pocket expenses and pain and suffering. Notably, that third-party claim might be pursued even after obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney that focuses on workers’ compensation can help an injured worker explore all of the benefits that he or she might deserve.

Source: To find out more, please visit our firm's workplace accidents page.

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