What You Need to Know about Making a Workplace Injury Claim
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If you have been injured at your workplace or when carrying out job-related activities, then it is important to be aware of your legal rights.
Most employers offer workers’ compensation, wherein employees are entitled to financial compensation, and in return, agree not to sue the employer for the injury. This is because employers who provide workers’ compensation insurance as part of their employee benefits program are given immunity against claims brought in by injured employees.
Workers’ compensation benefits from the no-fault system, where benefits are paid to the employee irrespective of whether or not the mishap occurred due to his/her carelessness.
But, that does not mean that workers’ compensation is a means to gag employees from claiming their rights. You can sue the employer, or a third party, or both if you feel that your injuries were caused due to their negligence or carelessness.
Here are a few things you need to know about workplace injury and winning a fair claim:
When Can a Worker Sue the Employer?
Before an injured worker goes to court, he or she must understand whether he/she has the legal right to do so.
A few circumstances under which you can sue your employer for injuries sustained during the course of work are as follows:
The Injury Was Caused by Defective Product or Toxic Substance
If your client has been injured by defective equipment, then it is possible to bring on a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer of the equipment. The manufacturer can be held responsible for the injuries because he was aware of the danger and/or did not warn the business or employees of potential danger from using the machine. A successful claim will help the employee get compensated for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Sometimes innocent workers suffer injuries or diseases due to the presence or use of toxic substances in the workplace. Affected workers can sue the manufacturer of the toxic substance and make a claim with a toxic tort lawsuit. It is possible to sue even if the effects of the substance are revealed after a considerable period of time.
Acute injuries are apparent immediately, whereas latent injuries take a long time to appear as in the case of exposure to asbestos. If you are a lawyer dealing with toxic tort lawsuits, you will also have to enlist the services of healthcare experts, who can establish the link between the illness or injury, and the toxin. In many cases, lawyers will also treat this as class action lawsuits, with many more victims joining as plaintiffs.
The Injury Was Caused by Negligence or Intentional Action of Employer
In labor-intensive industries, workers operate massive machinery and equipment. The equipment must be serviced and maintained in good condition to avoid malfunctioning and injuries to workers. But in a few instances, employers (or the management) fail to implement safety protocols, thereby leading to grievous injuries to workers dealing with the equipment.
The injured worker can sue the employer over lack of adequate safety measures at the workplace. This is all the more important if the employer continues with lax safety practices and expects workers to continue using outdated or badly-maintained equipment.
Intentional action comprises activities undertaken by a third party, or other employees of the company on behalf of, or on the instructions of the management. An injured employee can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the employer if supervisors insist that workers continue working in unsafe conditions.
The Employer Does Not Carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance
If the employer does not provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees, then it is possible to sue the employer in civil court and get compensated for the injuries sustained. The case can prove to be complex, with the plaintiff required to prove that the injuries or illnesses were caused solely due to something that the employer did or did not do. The burden of proof rests on the plaintiff, whereas to get workers’ compensation, you are not required to show the cause-effect link.
The Cost of Suing Your Employer
However compelling your case is, certain difficulties are associated with bringing in a lawsuit against your employer.
Big companies and corporations are not afraid of lawsuits and have probably dealt with several. They have well-oiled systems in place, which get into action the moment an employee files a lawsuit. They know the drill and are comfortable being the defendant in what is just another day in the office.
But for an employee, the case can well work out to be time-consuming, taxing, stressful and costly. It will leave you with very little time or energy to pursue a new job or a different career. If you positively feel that you have a strong case against your employer, it is extremely important you see an attorney representing employees and discuss your grievances with him/her.
It is important to hire a lawyer who is familiar with the laws applicable in your jurisdiction. For example, if you live in Illinois, Chicago, a workers compensation lawyer in Chicago will be able to evaluate your case and help you decide whether or not the claim is worth your while.
Ensure you weigh all pros and cons before taking your employer to court.
An injury sustained at the workplace can set you back financially, emotionally and professionally. It is important to explore all the options open to you before you take legal action and settle for the most viable, practical and beneficial solution.
Contact Us For Help
We believe that you deserve to receive appropriate compensation after being injured at your place of employment. Don’t let your claim fall by the wayside!
We at Kosin Law Office, LTD. have handled thousands of workers’ compensation claims and legal cases.
If you have been hurt or injured, let us help you get the justice and compensation you deserve!
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We have handled thousands of accident and injury law cases. Contact us today and let our knowledge and experience work for you. We provide personal attention and offer free and confidential consultations.