Every day that you go to work, you expect to do the same tasks or similar tasks and clock out at the end of the day. When your employer asks you to do things that are not safe or allows others to engage in unsafe practices, you may go home with a broken bone, a concussion or a more serious injury. Though you can file a worker’s compensation case because of that injury, you may have the chance to sue in court for compensation too. You will first need to determine if your case meets any of the standards for a lawsuit.
Filing a Compensation Claim First
Before you can file a lawsuit, you need to file a worker’s compensation claim first. If you do not do this, the judge may think that you just want to make money and that you were not really injured or not injured to the extent that you claim. To file a claim, you will need to show proof that the injury occurred while at work and that you saw at least one medical professional who diagnosed your injury. This is a temporary way to get the compensation that you need until you recover and can go back to work.
When You Can File a Lawsuit
Though many states will not let you file a lawsuit against your employer, you may have the chance to file a lawsuit against anyone attached to the case. You can file a suit against the manufacturer of a defective product that you used at work or the supplier of a chemical that made you sick at work. If your employer acted in a negligent or deliberate manner, you may have the chance to file a personal lawsuit against that individual. These cases can involve an employer who knowingly makes you use broken products or demands that you do tasks without the proper safety equipment.
Employer Refuses to Respond or Help
You may also have the right to file a lawsuit because your employer refuses to respond to the worker’s compensation claim that you filed or because your employer outright refuses to help. The agencies that handle these cases will contact the employer and ask questions about your claim, including when the incident occurred and if there were any witnesses to the accident. You may ask your attorney to contact the employer as well. If the employer refuses to respond or denies that the accident happened at work, you may need to sue for compensation.
Before meeting with an attorney or filing a claim, you need to document your injury. The court requires proof that the injury occurred in the workplace or while doing a task for work and that you sought medical help. It’s helpful to ask for a copy of the hospital report if you went to the emergency room or a report from your primary care physician. If you see any specialists for care and treatment, you’ll want reports from them too. An attorney will ask for any other proof that you have such as an incident report filed at work or the names of any witnesses.
Find an Attorney
Filing a worker’s compensation claim on your own is very hard, which is why many injured parties hire attorneys. Look for personal injury attorneys in your area who understand this process and have experience with these claims. Many attorneys offer a free consultation that lets you learn more about what you will need to do. This consultation also lets you see how comfortable you feel working with that attorney and if you would prefer a different lawyer.
Though your attorney may file a lawsuit, the attorney may also contact your employer and ask about settling out of court. Many employers will agree to a settlement because they do not want to go to court and risk losing more money. Their insurers will typically pay out the money in that settlement. You also have the option of settling the case after it goes to court but before the judge makes a final ruling.
Though some people claim that you cannot file a lawsuit against an employer, you can work with an attorney to file a worker’s compensation claim and then move forward with a lawsuit if needed.