Whether you work in a dangerous industry or a relatively safe one, you run the risk of a workplace injury. It may occur through an accident, repeated movements or exposure to harmful substances. Regardless of your job, you may receive financial compensation for your injury through two different avenues. Each has a different process and different benefits.
File for workers' compensation
The first route to take is to recover workers' compensation benefits. You must report your injury to your supervisor within 15 days of the accident or realization of its connection to work. Give as many details as possible pertaining to the accident and injury. However, you do not have to prove any fault by the employer to qualify for benefits. It only matters that your injury happened at or because of your job.
Your supervisor will file the required documents with the company's insurance provider. Workers' compensation will reimburse you for medical treatment from an authorized provider and for mileage if the provider is located at least 15 miles away. You may also receive temporary or permanent disability benefits, which cover your lost wages from reduced hours or inability to work at all. Partial disability may be an option if you can go back to work but under restrictions that decrease your income. If the insurance company denies your claim, you may appeal to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation within one year.
File a personal injury lawsuit
In some cases, you may also be eligible to sue for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. This can apply to:
- Defective products or machinery that led to your injury
- Intentional harm by your employer
- Injuries from toxic substances
- Mistakes or negligence by an involved third party, such as a contractor
- Work-related auto accidents
The advantage of filing a lawsuit is that you may claim benefits that workers' compensation excludes, such as pain and suffering or punitive damages. You may also receive more for lost wages. However, some of the awarded damages may go to your employee's insurance provider to reimburse the cost of your workers' compensation benefits.
Because a personal injury lawsuit from a workplace incident depends on certain circumstances, it is best to speak to an attorney for more information. A personal injury attorney can determine if you have a case and how to proceed with it to increase your chances of the best outcome. Damages and workers' compensation combined can help provide for you and your family now and in the future.