If you have sustained an injury at your place of work and are no longer able to perform your assigned job duties as a result, you are almost certainly eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. It is important to note, however, that you may also be entitled to collect damages from a third party or, if you meet very stringent criteria, from your employer by filing a personal injury lawsuit. The Pennsylvania workers' comp experts of the law firm of Winegar Wilhelm Glynn & Roemersma can evaluate your circumstances and advise you of the best course of action to take in your particular case.
In the vast majority of cases, workers who are injured on the job are solely eligible to be compensated by workers' compensation. As soon as they file a claim for workers' compensation, they permanently forfeit the right to file a lawsuit against their employers. If they do decide to file a lawsuit against their employers, they are fighting an uphill battle; however, our personal injury attorneys do occasionally suggest this approach when certain criteria are in place.
More commonly, we find that third parties, such as contractors hired by the employer, are at least partially responsible for a worker's injuries; in such cases, the injured worker can collect workers' compensation benefits in addition to filing a personal injury claim against the third party. For instance, if a worker at a factory is injured by a piece of faulty machinery, it may be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer of that piece of machinery while also receiving workers' compensation benefits.
About Workers' Compensation Claims
Unless you are self-employed, you must be covered by workers' compensation according to the laws of the state of Pennsylvania. You are entitled to workers' compensation benefits unless you:
- Intentionally caused your injury
- Caused your own injury through the use of alcohol or drugs
- Were attacked by a co-worker for personal reasons
- Were attacked by a third party for a reason unrelated to your work
- Were injured as a result of committing an illegal act at your place of work
If you have been wrongfully denied workers' compensation for any of the above reasons, it is important that you seek legal counsel immediately. Our workers' compensation attorneys have extensive experience in representing injured employees whose workers' compensation claims were denied or underpaid.
It should be noted that, unlike personal injury claims, workers' compensation will not cover general damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.
About Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims are different from workers' compensation claims in many important ways. While you are eligible to collect workers' compensation benefits even if you are at fault for your accident (assuming that you did not deliberately injure yourself or injure yourself while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs), you must be able to prove negligence in any successful personal injury claim. For example, if the building in which you work is undergoing construction, and you are injured by slipping on a spill caused by the construction crew, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the construction company. However, our personal injury attorneys would have to present evidence that the construction company was negligent in creating the hazard that caused your injury in order for your lawsuit to be successful.
Learn More about Workers' Compensation versus Personal Injury Claims
To learn more about workers' compensation versus personal injury claims, or to arrange for an evaluation of your case, please contact our personal injury law firm today.