If I Was Injured at Work, Can I Sue My Employer?
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you can still get injured while doing your job. Should you get injured in an accident at work, then you’ll probably be able to get benefits via workers’ compensation. Generally, an employer is required by state law to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for its employees.
Do you suffer from a job-related injury? The following information will help you protect your legal rights.
File an Accident Report
Several states impose very short deadlines and you must immediately report the accident so you can be covered under workers’ compensation laws. Remember to report any workplace accident in which you’re involved regardless if you believe you’re injured or not. Not to mention, filing the report immediately protects you if you don’t experience symptoms until weeks or even months after your accident.
The Lawsuits Generally Barred Under Workers’ Comp Laws
Every state except Texas requires employers to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. The laws state that, in a general sense, employees cannot sue their employers over workplace injuries. Fortunately, the employee doesn’t have to prove that their employer’s negligence caused the injury. An employee can still get compensation even if the employee’s own negligence caused the injury.
However, there’s one major exception to the general rule forbidding lawsuits and that is asbestos exposure. If an employee is exposed to asbestos and suffers from asbestos-related health issues such as mesothelioma, then they may be able to sue their employer or a third party for damages.
Injuries Involving Alcohol/ Drugs are Not Covered
There are some cases in which you won’t be covered by workers’ compensation laws. For instance, if you’re intoxicated or using prohibited drugs at the time of the accident, then your injuries won’t be covered. Some employers also have a policy requiring their employees involved in workplace accidents to undergo drug testing. Additionally, injuries that occurred during the employee’s commute or due to workplace fighting/ horseplay are usually excluded from coverage.
Consult a Medical Professional
You must see a doctor as soon as possible following the accident at work. If you are badly injured, then you may go to the emergency room. Should you get seriously injured, then you must ask your employer if they need you to see a certain doctor or if you can choose which doctor to go to.
If your employer chooses the doctor and you’re not satisfied with how things went during your visit, then you must consider seeing another doctor of your own choosing. You can be entitled to a second opinion under the workers’ compensation laws. Take note that even if workers’ comp won’t pay for you to see a different physician, it may be worth it to pay for it yourself. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could stand to lose much more in benefits than it’ll cost you to get an evaluation by a different physician. Although, if you have medical insurance, then your doctor’s visit may be covered by it.
Report Your Injuries Immediately
Your employer is responsible for filing a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance company on your behalf. So, it’s crucial that you let them know that you’re injured. If you reported the accident but weren’t aware that you were injured at the time, then inform your employer as soon as you discover your injury. Make sure to follow up with them if they were able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Don’t forget to secure a copy of the workers’ compensation claim filed by your employer. You must also consult with an attorney who has relevant experience handling workers’ compensation claims so you can get fair compensation.
Contact a Qualified, Experienced Work Injury Lawyer
If you are struggling with an injury or illness that you suffered at work, the right lawyer can help. Our attorneys atRobinette Legal Grouphave decades of experience. If your employer or another party failed to prevent your work accident, we can represent you during a workers’ compensation insurance claim and/or a personal injury lawsuit.
Please contact our Morgantown work accident attorneys today to learn more during a free initial consultation. Contact us byclicking hereor calling(304) 594-1800 anytime. We care about injured workers in Morgantown, WV, and can ensure your family has everything it needs.
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.