If you’ve been hurt while you were working, you may be facing substantial bills, the prospect of being out of work for a significant period of time, and serious questions about whether your injuries may result in permanent disability and work limitations. Those concerns can cause significant stress and anxiety. Although in most states workers’ compensation may cover most or all of your medical bills, and a percentage of your lost income, you may not be made whole. You may not be able to return to a job you enjoyed and paid you well. Although in most states you may not, except under limited circumstances, bring an action directly against your employer, if third parties are at least partially responsible for your accident and injuries, you may be able to be made whole through legal action against those third parties.
For example, if your accident happened outside the workplace, you may have a claim against the owner of the property where your accident happened. If you were delivering a product for your employer, and you fell because of ice and snow on a sidewalk, a poorly lit delivery dock, or some other property defect, you may have an action against the property owner. If you’re a truck driver, and were injured because another company improperly loaded the product in your truck, you may have a claim against that company. If you were driving in the course of your employment, and another driver crashed into you, you may have a claim against that driver.
You may have a claim if you were hurt at your workplace. If you were hurt at your company while using machinery made by another company, you may have a products liability claim against that company. In some states, if you were working on a construction site, and you were hurt, you may have a claim, by statute, against the owner of and/or general contractor on the job site, even if they weren’t actively negligent.
It is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as you can if you’ve been injured while working. The workers’ compensation process can be complicated. You may be entitled to additional benefits through no-fault insurance if you were injured in a work-related car accident. You may have a claim against a third-party. A good personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this complicated and stressful process. She can explain the time limitations that apply to placing the responsible parties on notice of your claim, some of which can be as short as 90 days. She can explain how you can be made whole. She can explain the categories of damages to which you may be entitled, including pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement or disability, lost wages, and past and future medical expenses. She can help to make sure important evidence is preserved and not destroyed. If you’re married, she can explain the damages your spouse may be entitled to recover as a result of your injury.
Thanks to our friends from Zweig Law, PC, for their insight into workplace injuries.