Workers' Compensation is a statutory insurance program for injured workers to collect benefits while they are unable to work or are permanently injured due to a work-related injury. This program has no bearing on fault, so if the injured worker was the cause of the injury, he or she can still collect benefits.
The damages available in a Workers' Compensation Claim are limited. Some of the damages are past, present and future medical expenses, lost wages, temporary disability payments and compensation for the workers' impairment to work in the future. Pain and suffering is not a recovery that can be collected in a worker's compensation claim.
The Workers' Compensation claim is the exclusive remedy against the employer. This means the injured worker cannot sue the employer in civil court for injuries sustained during the course of the employment. There are a few exceptions where the employer may be sued, but they are limited.
Despite this exclusive remedy, in most situations an injured worker may bring a civil lawsuit against another person or entity that caused the injuries while also proceeding with a Workers' Compensation claim. For example, if the worker was operating a motor vehicle and was struck from behind by another driver and injured, the injured worker may file a Workers' Compensation claim because the injuries were sustained during the course of the injured workers' employment. The injured worker is also permitted to file a claim with the other driver's insurance company and if it cannot be settled, a civil lawsuit against the other driver can be filed.
The Workers' Compensation insurance carrier will likely claim it is entitled to be reimbursed from any proceeds the injured worker recovers from the other driver or the other driver's insurance company. In certain situations this is correct. The rules regarding reimbursement are complicated and should be handled by an attorney.
Additionally, the Workers' Compensation statutes are lengthy and complicated. If you have been injured while in the course of your employment, contact the Law Office of Milton S. Goff, III for a FREE Consultation.
The information contained in these web pages are for general informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or a contractual agreement to represent any potential client. The information represents the most current trends in the law and may change at any given period of time. To assure the most accurate information is obtained you should contact an attorney.