Work- Related Injuries: Workers’ Compensation and Third Parties

26 Oct Work- Related Injuries: Workers’ Compensation and Third Parties

An employer may be required to pay medical bills and disability payments for an injured worker whether or not the company was at fault.  This requirement is part of Workers’ Compensation laws.  These laws protect employers from lawsuits provided that they compensate employees for injuries sustained on the job.

In most states, employers are required to carry insurance to compensate employees who are injured in the course and scope of their employment. This insurance is usually purchased from a private carrier that specializes in workers’ compensation.  Extremely small organizations with three to five employees may be exempt in some states.  Some very large companies may be allowed to insure themselves.  In some states, employers may also pay into a state workers’ compensation fund.

There are several exceptions to the requirement that an employer pay workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault.  If an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is attempting to harm himself or others, he may not be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

The same is true for individuals who are violating the law or company policy.  An individual who is traveling to and from work may not be covered.  However, some workers’ compensation laws allow for compensation if the employee is traveling to perform job-related duties.

If you are an employee who suffers a work-related injury, the first action you should take is to notify your employer of the injury.  You will then need to file a workers’ compensation claim.  The specific paperwork will differ by state and you should be able to get the appropriate claim form from your employer. After it is submitted, the employer and the insurance company can contest your claim.

If the claim is found to be legitimate, you will receive a portion of your salary and your medical bills will be paid.  Workers’ compensation claims do not include damages for pain and suffering.

It is often to the employer’s advantage to pay workers’ compensation benefits instead of defending lawsuits to prove that they were not responsible. When a company assumes responsibility and adheres to Workers’ Compensation laws, the survivor usually does not have the right to sue his employer.  However, this does not mean that the survivor cannot sue someone else who may also be responsible.

There may be a third party who contributed to the injury.  For example let’s say that an electrician is employed by an independent contractor and is working in an office building when an injury occurs. If the building is deemed unsafe and this contributed to the accident, the owner of the building may be sued since he is not the electrician’s employer.

The employer will pay workers’ compensation benefits and the electrician will not be able to take legal action against the employer.  This example illustrates why it is so important to contact a qualified attorney. Workers’ compensation laws differ from state to state and a lawyer can advise you on how to file a claim to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. To access a list of all state workers’ compensation agencies, visit the following Department of Labor website:  http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/regs/compliance/wc.htm

Burn injury survivors who work for the federal government fall under different workers’ compensation laws.  The Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA) governs compensation for federal workers who are injured in an accident while on the job.  You can visit the following Department of Labor website to learn more about FECA: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/regs/compliance/DFECFolio/agencyhb.pdf

Your legal rights are important, and hopefully information from this blog will allow you to pursue your rights by choosing an attorney with the qualifications, expertise, and proven success record needed to represent burn survivors and their families.

For more information about burn injuries please visit our website, www.burnsurvivor.com

To contact attorney Robert A. Brenner directly, call 800-669-7700 or email rbrenner@brennerlaw.com

To learn more about attorney Robert A. Brenner, please visit his website www.brennerlaw.com