One of the things many employers don’t like to advertise is that their employees may be entitled to greater compensation than workers comp if they have been injured on the job due to employer negligence. Not only can this cause their insurance rates to go through the roof, but it could actually, in severe cases, bankrupt them. If you have been injured on the job and feel as though it is directly resultant from employer negligence, talk to a specialist workers compensation attorney before agreeing to any settlements whatsoever. Sometimes accepting one form of compensation negates your right to higher benefits. Here are some facts you should know.
Common Definition of Workers Compensation Insurance
Workers compensation is actually a type of insurance that employers must carry by law to replace lost wages due to work related injuries and for payment of medical bills. Unfortunately, this is seen as a trade-off because the coverage is limited and the employee relinquishes his or her right to suing the employer outside the workers comp system. Because of this, it is suggested by specialist attorneys in the personal injury field that you consult with them prior to accepting those benefits.
Some States Allow for Additional Benefits
Some states do, however, have laws in regards to what you can sue for in addition to or outside of a workers compensation claim. Those in Alabama, for example, should contact a workers compensation attorney, Birmingham well versed in eligible claims outside workers comp. Some of the claims outside workers comp coverage include:
- Injury resulting from a defective product
- Injuries resulting from toxic substances
- Employer’s failure to carry legally required workers compensation insurance
- Egregious or intentional acts by an employer resulting in injury
- Injuries caused by a third party
In some instances, the suit would be filed against both the employer and the ‘other’ party, such as the manufacturer of a defective product or piece of machinery. A professional personal injury/workers compensation attorney would know exactly who to sue for damages and to what extent.
Government Benefits in Addition to Workers Compensation
There are times when the injured party is no longer able to return to the workforce. Serious injuries such as dismemberment would most likely qualify the person to claim Social Security Disability payments for as long as he/she is unable to work – that could be forever. Most attorneys that specialize in workers compensation also handle Social Security Disability and personal injury claims as well. This is often because one or more claims are directly related to each other as in the case of ongoing Social Security Disability payments in addition to workers comp.
Instead of taking the first offer your employer’s insurance adjuster offers you, talk to a qualified attorney who specializes in personal injury/workers comp claims. You may be entitled to much more than the insurer is willing to pay, or to pay according to your employer’s policy limitations. In this case, you would need to ‘go after’ the employer as well. The only way to know what is rightfully due you is to talk to a professional. And remember, don’t sign anything until you do.