There are many reasons to bring a suit for personal injury, but if the incident happened at work, the situation is complicated. You’ll have to take more factors into account than just the incident alone, before you can decide whether you have a viable workers’ compensation case.
Here are some of the essentials you should know.
Disqualifications from a Worker’s Compensation Lawsuit
You can’t sue for workers’ compensation if the cause wasn’t clearly attributable to your working conditions. Personal injury attorneys Ricci Law Firm in North Carolina explain this in an article:
“You will likely be disqualified from workers comp if you were committing a crime when you were injured, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you were in violation of the company’s code of conduct by rough-housing or engaging in other behaviors that contributed to your injuries.”
You might also be unable to bring a viable case if you receive adequate compensation soon after the incident. Also, waiting too long to file could also remove any opportunity to sue because of the rule known as the statute of limitations.
This is a time limit on when you can file a case within a certain time after an injury accident. The length of permissible time varies from state to state. Once the statute of limitations has passed, you are no longer eligible to seek compensation.
Qualifications for a Workers’ Compensation Lawsuit
There are several indicators you can use to assess whether you qualify for a workers’ compensation lawsuit, depending on the rules of your workplace and your state’s regulations. Here are some of the most common:
You’re legally employed at the place you were injured. This means you have to have fulfilled all the legal requirements, such as being a citizen of the United States or an alien resident with the right to work in the U.S. There’s a common misconception that you have to have worked in the job for a certain number of days to qualify, but in most states, you qualify for workers’ comp from day one.
You haven’t seen a workers’ compensation check yet. If your place of employment performs due diligence, you should see a check for medical bills, damages, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other losses within a few days of receiving your bills. Some employers drag this process out, either because of negligence or because they hope you’ll drop your case. You can sue to receive your money faster if this should happen.
You were paid an inadequate amount. If you received your workers’ compensation check, but you still have unpaid bills, you can sue for additional money. You shouldn’t be responsible for any expenses that relate to an injury that wasn’t your fault.
Your workplace does not have workers’ compensation. Every U.S. company with more than five employees must have a workers’ compensation insurance policy that will pay out dividends if an employee gets hurt. However, new companies are occasionally unaware of the requirement, or they attempt to reduce their initial costs by failing to take out a policy. You can sue your employer for compensation if this turns out to be the case.
The injury is lifelong. Some injuries are far worse than others. If yours is expected to have lifetime effects, you may qualify for extra compensation apart from workers’ comp.
You could be eligible to file a separate personal injury suit in order to seek compensation that would sustain you for the life of your injury. Your ability to work may be compromised, in which case you’d need adequate cash for the years you won’t be able to earn a paycheck.
The accident resulted in the death of a loved one. This is called a wrongful death suit, which can be applied alongside or in place of a workers’ compensation action. When your loved one started working, he or she was promised a safe working environment, and shouldn’t have died on the premises. You can sue for funeral expenses and the pain and suffering, care, and assistance of those left behind.
Finding a Good Worker’s Compensation Attorney
If your situation fits into any of the above-mentioned categories, and you haven’t been disqualified from filing a workers’ compensation case, you’ll need a good attorney. Don’t worry about the expense; you won’t be charged a dime until you’ve won the case.
Be choosy when trying to select an attorney. You need counsel that believes in your case and presents an actionable plan to compensate for your injuries.
Ask around for recommendations; read online reviews and interview potential candidates. A potential legal representative should be able to provide examples of past cases that resemble your own in order to give you an idea of his or her qualifications.
It’s worth taking the time to find good legal counsel. The outcome of your case depends on the lawyer’s aptitude, passion, dedication, and perseverance.