Workplace fall accidents are very common, and when injuries occur, injured workers are often left in the dark about their legal rights to full compensation. As a general rule, there are two types of claims which may be made after a work injury occurs: a workers’ compensation claim and a tort/injury lawsuit. Workers’ compensation usually covers medical bills and a portion of any lost wages. In a tort/injury lawsuit, the plaintiff can receive compensation for all economic losses and pain and suffering. Below is a discussion about the two types of claims.
Workers’ compensation benefits are somewhat limited in two ways. First, the medical claims process is complex. You are required to notify your employer and are usually required to see medical doctors approved by the workers’ compensation insurance company. In Pennsylvania, that requirement only applies for the first 90 days. Read more about medical bills and workers’ compensation claims in PA. In addition, much of the treatment course has to be pre-approved by the workers’ compensation insurance company. These factors make it that much more difficult for injured workers.
Second, the workers’ compensation scheme is designed to get injured workers back to work as soon as possible. That’s why the system only pays a percentage of lost wages. In Pennsylvania, injured workers commonly receive about 66% of their average weekly wage. If the system paid 100% of lost wages, this would be an incentive for injured workers to stay out on comp as long as possible. For seriously injured workers, receiving only 66% of lost wages creates significant financial hardships, especially for workers with families.
Work Injury Lawsuits
Injured workers can receive financial compensation by filing a work injury lawsuit against non-employer parties. In a typical work injury case, like a fall accident, an outside vendor or contractor may be liable. For instance, a parking lot contractor which is responsible for maintenance may be liable when an employee trips and falls due to uneven asphalt.
Work injury lawsuits are similar to other types of personal injury lawsuits, like auto accident cases. They require proof of negligence which is usually defined as doing something you shouldn’t do or failing to do something when you should.
In a workplace fall accident case, an outside contractor may be held liable for negligent conduct, such as:
- failing to provide proper maintenance,
- failing to conduct inspections,
- failing to remedy dangerous conditions, and
- failing to warn others about a dangerous condition.
Financial recovery in a work injury lawsuit often includes compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Talk to a lawyer immediately.
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