WORK INJURIES

WORK INJURIES

Work injury is referred to all injuries, illnesses and consequential damages resulting from performance of work-related activities.

Most common occupational injuries result from exposure to hazardous chemicals, biological contacts and psychological stress. In addition, extreme temperatures, noise, animal and insect bites, blood-borne pathogens, aerosols, radiation, long and monotonous activities such as typing and/or exposure to computer screens, lack of ergonomics, manual handling of heavy or bulky objects, misuse of equipment, falling, slipping, malfunction of defective products, lack of safety training or attention, and so on.

If you’ve been injured in any work-related activity, please click HERE and consult with a Highly Experienced, Ethical and Compassionate Chosen Work Injury Lawyer, right away. Your Case Evaluation is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.

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Meet Your Capable, Credible and Compassionate Chosen Work Injury Lawyer

Although, generally, people that are injured or fallen ill on the job are compensated by the Employers’ Workers' Compensation Insurance, there are many categories of injuries that entitle the injured party to file a lawsuit for their damages. Here are some of such situations:

DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS

If a worker is injured by a defective equipment or product, he or she may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, retailer of the defective product that caused the sustained injury.

TOXIC SUBSTANCE

If a worker is injured by a Toxic Substance, she or he may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, retailer of the Toxic Substance that caused the sustained injury.

INTENTIONAL HARM

If a worker is injured because of her or his employer's intentional or egregious acts or omissions, she or he could be entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against employer.

EMPLOYER’S LACK OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE

If the employer does not provide workers' compensation insurance, the injured employee may have the right to file a lawsuit against the employer in civil court or collect compensation from a state fund.

THIRD PARTY CAUSED INJURY

If a third party caused the worker’s injury, he or she may be entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that party.

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It is important to know that while Workers' Compensation Insurance’s award of damages to an injured worker, generally, do not require fault; they are very low; and they do not compensate for pain and suffering, and so on.

Moreover, there is no provision in Workers' Compensation program for awards of provide punitive damages, designed to punish the employer for poor safety training or careless conditions. These are just some of the reasons that an injured employee should consult with an Experienced, Credible and Compassionate Chosen Work Injury Lawyer, right away.

Your Chosen Lawyer will carefully assess your case and recommend a course of action that is best for you. The fact is that in addition to a lawsuit against the appropriate party or parties, you may even be entitled to obtain additional governmental awards and benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSI) if your injuries are preventing you from performing your work.

Moreover, if an unsafe machine caused your injury you could file a complaint with the Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) in addition to your workers' compensation claims. This is not a retaliatory measure as it is an important preventative measure, which puts the employer on notice to fix the problem rather than unfairly direct you or other employees to use the same injury causing equipment.

As briefly described above, in cases of a faulty machine or product, you may be able to collect workers' compensation from your employer, and potentially file a Product Liability against the manufacturer and others for the defective equipment.

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It is important to know that if you are injured at work, your claim for Workers’ Compensation Program is not, necessarily, against your employer. It is merely a request for compensation from the Insurance Policy that is designed for work related injuries.

The workers’ compensation laws entitle all workers to compensation for injuries they sustain at work or work related injuries. The amount of Workers’ Compensation Insurance is a weekly amount and medical bills. In return for this arrangement the injured workers lose their right to sue their employers for many of their damages, namely pain and suffering.

In some case, award of Workers’ Compensation benefits may be the only compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses, permanent or temporary. In such cases an injured employee would be entitled to:

MEDICAL COSTS

In case of work related injury, the worker is entitled to payments of his or her medical bills. However, the choice of healthcare provider may be limited.

DISABILITY BENEFITS (TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT)

If the work related injuries render the worker unable to perform his or her work, whether, Temporarily or Permanently, he or she may receive disability benefits, which vary based on the extent of disability.

DEATH BENEFITS

If the work-related injury or illness causes the death of a worker, his or her spouse or dependent children may receive death benefits and compensations.

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The amount awarded to compensate an injured worker for work-related injury or illness is regulated by the Workers’ Compensation Laws of each state.

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If you are affected by any work-related injury or illness, whether it is sudden or gradual, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, you should immediately report it to the appropriate person supervising your work. That is because, depending on jurisdictional workers’ compensation laws, if you do not report your work-related injuries within a window of time, sometimes as short as 30 days, you may lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

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Workers’ compensation program is designed to pay weekly benefits and medical costs for work-related injuries and illnesses. With some exceptions, workers’ compensation is not dependent neither on worker nor employee’s fault.

The fact that you sustained injuries or affected by a work-related hazard is sufficient. Thus, you do not need to prove that your employer or your co-workers negligently caused your damages. Even if your own negligence caused your work-related injury or illness, you are still entitled to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.

Although, as alluded above, in a Workers’ Compensation Claim, you can only seek a weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical costs, and vocational rehabilitation. Thus, you are not entitled to collect lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium and enjoyment of life, punitive damages, and so on.

In a nutshell, workers’ compensation recovery is a tradeoff for the right to suing employers and co-workers for any negligent acts or omissions that they have committed, which resulted in work-related injury.

Could Injured Employees choose to file Civil Lawsuits against their Employers instead of Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Generally, employees are barred from suing their employers for work-related injury or illness. The reason for this is more of a public policy of promoting employers to provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance for the benefit of their employees. This is why, they are generally protected from defending themselves against their employees’ personal injury claims. However, there are some exceptions, and here are some:

If an employer intentionally causes the employee’s illness or injury, the employee has a right to file a Tort Lawsuit for such injuries in a civil court. Here are some samples of intentional torts:

ASSAULT & BATTERY

Assault is, generally, referred to as an attempted battery and battery is an injury to the person’s body. An unwanted kiss or slap could be construed as battery.

CONVERSION

Under tort law if the employer takes your property without your express or implied permission and making it his or her own, you may be able to sue.

FALSE IMPRISONMENT

If your employer confines you against your will or without a legal authority, you may be able to sue your employer;

INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

If your employer does something outrageous that you are emotionally traumatized, you may be able to sue your employer;

DEFAMATION

If your employer utters false information about you that harms you, you may have file a claim for libel or slender against your employer;

FRAUD

If your employer lied to you about something that caused you damages, you may sue your employer;

CREWMEMBERS OF ANY BOAT, SHIP

If you are a crewmember of any type of boat, from giant cruise ships down to the smallest two-person commercial fishing boat, you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Instead, a federal law referred to as The Jones Act allows you to file a claim for your work-related injuries, including pain and suffering, in a civil court.

INTERSTATE RAILROAD WORKERS

Interstate railroad workers, are authorized by another federal law called the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to sue their employers for their work-related illnesses and injuries;

Please Note: This exception only allows the Interstate Railroad Employees, which means, railroads that operates in more than one state. Thus, if you are working for an intrastate commuter, which means you are a within the state rail worker, you may not be covered by FELA;

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Depending on jurisdictional law of each state, sexual harassment victims may be allowed to sue for damages in a civil court rather than be subjected to the exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation statutes.

WRONGFUL TERMINATION OR DISMISSAL

For Public Policy Purposes, some states require that emotional distress claims, which may result from either a Wrongful Termination or Breach of an Employment Contract are recoverable in civil actions

EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS

Most states laws mandate that discrimination claims based upon race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, and so on are not barred by the exclusivity provision of Workers’ Compensation Statutes. Thus the victims of such discriminations can seek judicial remedies in civil courts for their damages.

SUIT FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY THIRD PARTIES

If an employee was harmed at work-related incident by someone other than the employee or employer, the injured employee may be able to file a civil lawsuit for his or her personal injuries and damages against the third party. For example, an illness or injury caused by a defective product, the employee can sue the manufacturer and anyone else responsible in the stream of commerce.

WRONGFUL TERMINATION OR DENIAL OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS

Generally, the Workers' Compensation Claims are filed and adjudicated through the administrative process. Decisions rendered by the administrative authority is not appealable until the process is complete. And then, appeals must be brought to a special workers' compensation board or a specially nominated court. Only after all statutory process requirements set by the state are satisfied, a worker can file a Workers’ Compensation Claim in the civil court system.

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INTENTIONAL, SELF-INFLICTED INJURY

If an employee intentionally causes self-injury, his or her benefits may be reduced or completely barred from receiving any workers’ compensation benefits. However, some self-inflicted injuries may be the result of a work-related stress or illness.

INTOXICATION

If an employee’s self-induced intoxication from drugs such as alcohol or heroine and so on, when injured on a work-related injury may result in reduced benefits or complete bar on recovering workers’ compensation benefits.

The employer has the burden of prove that the injured employee was intoxicated at the time of the injury, The the burden shifts to the employee to prove that the intoxication did not contribute to the accident. Again, the intoxication must be volitional and not accidental or a reaction to prescription drugs;

VIOLATION OF A COMPANY SAFETY POLICY

If the injured employee violates an express company safety policy, which leads to subject work-related illness or injury, his or her Workers Compensation benefits may be reduced or barred.

As you can see from the above general review, dealing with a Work-Related Injury or Illness can be very complex and require knowledge of various federal and state laws. If you have been injured at work, please click HERE and consult with a Highly Knowledgeable and Experienced, Chosen Lawyer, now. Your Case Evaluation is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.

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