If you have been injured on the job, or you have contracted a medical condition due to something you have been exposed to in the workplace, you may be entitled to be compensated through your employer's worker's compensation insurance program. This program will usually pay you a percentage of your income while you are unable to work, as well as pay your medical bills. While this is usually the only income that most people have coming in, depending on how you were injured, you may have other legal avenues through which you may be able to obtain other financial resources. Here are a couple to consider.
Suing Your Employer
State and Federal worker's compensation laws generally prohibit a person who is eligible to receive, or is receiving worker's compensation, from civilly suing the employer they work for. However, there are a couple exceptions to the rule.
- If your employer exhibits intentional or egregious conduct – The majority of states allow you to sue your employer if you are able to show that your employer exhibited or engaged in egregious or intentional conduct. The states that are exceptions to this rule include the following:
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
To sue your employer for this, you must be able to show your employer's actions were conscious and had a high probability of resulting in injury.
- If your employer has not purchased sufficient, worker's compensation insurance – Almost all states in the country require businesses to have worker's compensation insurance if they have employees, although a few types of businesses are exempt. The amount of insurance required, as well as the minimum number of employees required varies from state to state.
The only state in the nation that allows an employer to operate their business without purchasing worker's compensation insurance is Texas, and even then certain companies are not exempt from the rule.
If your employer is in violation of the law to purchase worker's compensation insurance, or has not purchased a suffice amount to pay the estimated worker's compensation claims based on the business's size, you can possibly sue the owner of the company to cover the cost related to your injury.
Suing The Manufacturer Of The Equipment That Caused Your Injury
If you were injured by a piece of equipment in the workplace that was defective or that did not have safety mechanisms in place to prevent you from being injured, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the equipment in addition to collecting worker's compensation.
There are three avenues a defective liability case may take. They are:
- Defectively Manufactured Products
- Dangerous Product Design
- Failure To Provide Adequate Warnings
Just keep in mind that the burden of proof will fall on you to be able to prove that the equipment or process used while doing your job was the reason for your injury. Do not try to handle your worker's compensation case on your own, because you may put yourself in jeopardy of losing valuable legal rights. The worker's compensation insurance adjuster is not your friend. It is their job to save the insurance company as much money as they can, which means getting you back to work as quickly as they can with the least amount of compensation.
Hire a qualified worker's compensation attorney, such as one from a place like John V. Boshardy & Associates, P.C. They will be able to review your case, and will assist you in finding the evidence that you need to be able to establish whatever burden of proof you may have. With years of experience in the field of worker's compensation, they will possess the skills and abilities to ensure that you receive fair compensation from any and all parties who may need to be named as a defendant in your case.