Many times when people get hurt, they get hurt at work. Most of these injuries occur while performing job-related duties, and will be covered under workers’ compensation laws.
However, workers’ compensation may not adequately compensate you for some serious injuries. It is important that you understand how third-party liability may entitle you to additional compensation for serious workplace injuries.
The Limitations of Workers’ Compensation Claims
In most cases, workers’ compensation will cover any injury that occurs on the job, regardless of who or what caused the injury. It usually does not matter if the accident was your fault, your employer’s fault or a co-worker’s fault. You will still be entitled to receive the same workers’ compensation benefits.
However, workers’ compensation is a limited remedy, only providing for disability benefits and medical bills. Workers’ compensation does not provide for pain and suffering, or the disruption of your personal life, caused by a serious injury. Furthermore, it will never fully reimburse you for your lost earnings.
Moreover, since workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Indiana, you have no right to sue your employer for anything other than workers’ compensation benefits, even if the accident was their fault. This is because Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws prevent you from suing your employer (or other people employed by them) for work-related injuries unless you can prove that they harmed you intentionally.
If someone you work with intentionally hits you in the face and breaks your nose, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. However, you will be required to choose between accepting workers’ compensation benefits or pursuing the lawsuit against your employer.
There are other times, however, when you are injured on the job and you are not simply limited to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. For instance, if you are on the road making sales calls or deliveries and you get involved in an auto accident, not only will you have a workers’ compensation claim, you may also be able to sue the other driver who was at-fault.
Likewise, if you are on a job site and you are injured in an accident that was caused by something other than your employer or a coworker, such as a badly designed piece of machinery, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the responsible person or entity for bodily injuries, disfigurement, pain and suffering, and all of your future lost earnings. This is called a third-party claim.
Third-party claims are important because workers’ compensation has certain limitations on what can be recovered. However, third-party claims are free of these types of limitations and your compensation will be based on the true value of your damages.
In serious injury cases, a third-party lawsuit may enable you to recover compensation far beyond the limited amount available through workers’ compensation. This is true whether you are injured in a fall, fire, boiler explosion, by electrocution, while using dangerous machinery or in any other way.
Every injury case is different; sometimes workers’ compensation is the only remedy. When your injury is serious, every potential defendant should be considered and every avenue for compensation should be investigated.
Contact Jacobs Law, LLC
If you have been injured in a workplace accident and need compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering and lost earnings, contact our law firm online or call toll free at 317-520-9283 to schedule your free initial consultation. Through our office in Indianapolis, we represent people across Central Indiana.