Workers’ compensation can be a vital asset to people who have become injured or sick on the job. Benefits from a successful workers’ compensation claim can keep employees from falling onto hard times so they can heal without worrying about their finances.
Unfortunately, several myths about the workers’ comp process have kept many eligible employees from filing a claim for benefits they are rightfully owed. Stewart Law Offices is here to debunk them and set the record straight.
Myth No. 1: You Can Only File a Claim If the Employer Is at Fault
Fact: Workers’ compensation benefits are available to eligible employees regardless of fault. The system was developed in an effort to curb the number of personal injury lawsuits that were brought against employers after their workers were hurt in on-the-job accidents.
Under workers’ compensation laws, the employer will pay for all reasonable medical expenses for the injury, a portion of the employee’s lost wages, and disability benefits until the employee has recovered or reached maximum medical improvement.
There is a trade-off for these guaranteed benefits. In exchange for not having to prove fault in a workers’ comp claim, employees lose their rights to file a negligence claim against the employer. It may be possible to sue other parties depending on the facts of the case. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer would need to investigate the case to determine your legal options.
Myth No. 2: Workers’ Compensation Will Cover All of Your Losses
Workers’ compensation covers medical expenses related to your injury and provides partial reimbursement of your lost wages while you are out of work. It also can cover rehabilitation expenses and disability compensation for permanent injuries. However, certain types of compensation are not included under workers’ compensation. One of the primary ones is pain and suffering.
Money for pain and suffering can be awarded in a personal injury claim. Because you cannot sue your employer, there is no way to recover that types of compensation through a workers’ compensation claim.
However, there are times when a person has a valid personal injury claim after a workplace accident. This happens in cases where someone other than the employer is responsible for the incident.
For example, if a power tool malfunctioned due to a design defect while you were using it at work, you could file a personal injury claim against the company who designed or made the product. In that circumstance, you could be awarded damages for pain and suffering (along with other losses) because the negligence claim was against a third party, not your employer.
Learn More at Stewart Law Offices
Understanding the workers’ compensation process is difficult, but the lawyers at Stewart Law Offices can break it down for you in a free consultation. If you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident or diagnosed with an occupational disease, call or contact us today.
With offices in Rock Hill, Spartanburg, Columbia, and Beaufort, S.C. and Charlotte, N.C., our attorneys can meet wherever it is most convenient for you.
Originally published January, 2017. Updated November, 2020.