The aftermath of a work injury or occupational illness diagnosis can be disorienting, to say the least. Chances are that if you’ve been hurt on the job or made ill as a result of conditions on your jobsite, you just want to heal in peace and not have to worry about whether your workers’ compensation award is going to be approved, fairly valued, or paid in a timely manner. Thankfully, if you work with a lawyer, like a workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, you can focus on healing while your attorney handles the ins and outs of your claims process. With that said, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with some basic information before requesting workers’ compensation benefits in the wake of an injury or illness.
Workers’ Compensation – The Basics
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that protects workers’ rights to benefits in the wake of an injury or illness sustained while performing work-related activities. This system also limits employer liability related to the harm that workers suffer in this context. As a result, if you’re eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits, you almost certainly won’t be able to sue your employer as well. However, you may be able to file a personal injury action against any third-party who may have contributed to the harm you’ve suffered. For example, if you fell off a defective ladder, you may be able to sue the company that manufactures the ladder. Similarly, if you were injured in a car crash while traveling for work, you may be able to sue the other driver involved in the crash.
Because the workers’ compensation system is structured in a no-fault way, you should be entitled to a benefits award, even if you were partially or totally at-fault for the circumstances that led to your harm. This is generally true unless you were intoxicated at the time you became injured, you purposefully hurt yourself, or you were injured as a result of a fight you started.
Every state has its own workers’ compensation system, so protocols, requirements, caps, and other “ins and outs” of the systems that workers navigate vary based on where those workers live. For example, most states allow workers to benefit from their programs regardless of their immigration status. However, a select number of states limit the ability of workers to receive benefits if they are undocumented. If you have questions about your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits or the potential value of your workers’ comp benefits award, please connect with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer directly.
Legal Assistance Is Available
Your employer cannot lawfully retaliate against you for reporting a work-related injury or for filing for a benefits award. However, if you’re anxious about speaking with an attorney out of fear of retaliation, know that the consultation process is both confidential and risk-free. Connect with a firm’s team today to learn more about the workers’ compensation process and about how a lawyer can assist you during this challenging time.