According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds in the United States. Unfortunately, workplace injuries are extremely common and can range from minor to fatal. But when you fall victim to a work-related accident that disrupts your health and ability to work, is there anything you can do to protect your rights?
Fortunately, there are several legal options that you can pursue after suffering from an injury at work. You must have legal knowledge so that you understand the compensation you deserve. If you work with a knowledgeable lawyer with 20 years of experience helping injured workers in California, you’ll be able to pursue the best route for your case.
Workers’ compensation claim
The most common legal option for employees to recover compensation after getting injured at work is by filing a workers’ compensation claim. The law in most states requires businesses and organizations that have one or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In California, failure to provide employees with workers’ compensation is considered a criminal offense.
For an injured worker to be considered eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, they must meet a few requirements. First, the person must be an employee of the company. The injury they acquired must be work-related. The injured worker must also attend medical appointments, examinations, and treatments. Lastly, they must meet their state’s deadlines for reporting the injury and filing the claim.
If your workers’ compensation claim is successful, you will be entitled to a few benefits. This legal option will cover all medical expenses necessary to treat the injuries or illnesses resulting from the work-related accident. Workers’ compensation also covers lost wages acquired from missing work. Workers who are eligible for this claim are also entitled to vocational rehabilitation if they’re unable to return to work.
Product liability claim
Manufacturers and sellers are responsible for sending safe products that meet industry standards and function as intended. If a work accident is a result of defective equipment, a worker may be able to file a product liability claim against the equipment manufacturer. This legal action may apply to any product, no matter how simple, complex, small, or large it is.
It can be products that we use in our everyday life or those used in an industrial setting. It may include ladders, light bulbs, electrical panels, electronics, conveyors, machinery, bulldozers, trucks, and even truck tires. For example, a worker may file for product liability claims if injured from climbing on a defectively designed ladder.
If you succeed in a product liability claim, you may receive economic damages, including the cost of medical treatment, long-term care, lost wages, and future earnings. You may also receive compensation for your physical pain and emotional distress, lost quality or enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. However, you must prove that the product was defective, poorly designed, or didn’t have adequate warnings and that you used it with reasonable care and in the manner intended.
Third-party liability claim
A third-party lawsuit may also be possible if someone other than your employer was responsible for your work injury. For example, you might be selling your company’s products on another company’s job site, and one of their workers accidentally runs you over with a forklift. You have the right to file a third-party claim against the driver and their employer.
This legal option may usually overlap with your product liability claim or personal injury claim. In some instances, you may also be able to claim workers’ compensation and sue the third party for your injuries. It’s best to work with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer or workers’ compensation attorney who has experience with these types of cases.
If you get injured at work, you have the right to get compensated. But given the complexity of this process and the time you need to recover from your injuries, it’s best to reach out to an experienced lawyer. They can help you explore your legal options and determine which route is best for your situation. With their knowledge and experience, they can also help you secure the full benefits that you deserve for the damages. Your lawyer will help you navigate the complex legal system so that you can focus on your recovery.