Can I file a personal injury claim if I was injured at work?
Workers compensation, which is a state-mandated insurance program, provides compensation to employees who are injured at work performing their normal job requirements. If you have been injured at work the first thing you need to do is notify your employer. Workers compensation provides compensation for lost wages, death benefits, burial benefits, and medical expenses.
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Workers compensation was created to allow workers to receive immediate compensation for their injuries without filing an injury claim or having to prove their employer's negligence contributed to their injuries. In exchange for these guaranteed benefits, employees usually do not have the right to sue the employer in court for damages.
When can I file a personal injury case for a work injury?
Although an injured employee will generally receive compensation from workers' compensation only, there are some exceptions. For example an employee may file a personal injury claim if they are injured from a defective product, a toxic substance, or a third party's actions. Additionally, if their injuries were caused by the employer's intentional or egregious conduct or their employer does not carry insurance, they may be able to file a claim against their employer.
Additionally, many injured employees wonder if they will qualify for other disability benefits if they are injured at work. The federal government does offer disability benefits for workers who are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months if their condition is so severe they cannot perform substantial gainful activity.
Benefits offered by the government include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is only offered to workers who have worked and paid sufficient employment taxes to be considered insured. SSI is only offered to the blind, disabled or aged (over 65 years of age) who cannot work and who have very limited income and resources.
Injured employees will not get disability benefits from the federal government if their condition will not last at least 12 continuous months or if they are able to work. If a worker is receiving workers' compensation it is important to discuss how applying for SSDI benefits will impact their workers' compensation benefits and medical care before applying for SSDI or SSI benefits. Federal benefits can offset workers' compensation payouts. Do you need a lawyer when you file a workers' compensation case?
Generally, injured workers will not need to hire a lawyer. Workers' compensation laws for each state generally determine the type of compensation an injured worker can receive after a work injury. You will want to talk to a lawyer, however, if you have been injured from a third party product, if your employer does not have insurance, or if your employer is not willing to offer a fair workers' compensation settlement.
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