Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury lawsuits result from a variety of circumstances in which an individual is injured as the result of another person’s actions. Car accidents, medical malpractice and slip and falls are some common types of personal injury claims. If another driver causes your injuries, you can hold them liable, if a shop leaves their floors slippery after a spill and you fall suffering injuries, the store can be held liable, and if your doctor gives you the wrong prescription, causing you injury, they can be held liable.

However, when the party that would be liable for your injury is your employer, you might find yourself unable to pursue compensation in a personal injury claim. This is because of workers’ compensation.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance must be held by most employers. If an employee is injured at work, or while completing a work-related task, then that person will be compensated for his or her injuries through workers compensation. The employee cannot file a lawsuit against his or her employer, even if the employer was negligent. This protects the employer from being sued. However, employees can benefit from workers’ compensation too because they can usually recover benefits even if they caused their injury through their own negligence. So if your employer left a floor wet and slippery with no notice to you, and you fell and were injured, you would not be able to file a lawsuit against them for negligence. On the other hand, if you washed the floor at work, and slipped where you just washed and suffered an injury, you would still be able to collect workers’ compensation, even though you were the person who caused your injury.

What does workers’ compensation cover?

Workers’ compensation covers the medical expenses of a work-related injury. It also covers a portion of an employee’s lost wages. Unlike personal injury lawsuits though, an employee who suffered a work-related injury cannot collect damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress. The amount of compensation an employee receives from workers’ compensation is often less than they would recover in a successful legal claim against someone for negligence.

Are there times when workers’ compensation will not apply?

Not every employee is covered by workers compensation. Some very small businesses and certain industries are not covered. Additionally, if your employer intentionally injured you, then you will likely have the ability to file a suit rather than rely on workers’ compensation.

It is also possible for you to forfeit your right to workers’ compensation through your own actions. For instance, if you were to be injured as the result of a fist fight you started with a co-worker or were hurt while committing a crime at work, you would lose your ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

If you suffered a work-related injury, there is a good chance that you will be able to recover through a workers’ compensation program. Unfortunately, even some legitimate workers’ compensation claims end up being denied for a multitude of reasons. If you are attempting to collect workers’ compensation, contact a seasoned Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Barrett Law PLLC at (800) 707-9577 to discuss your claim.



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