Workers' compensation is a somewhat complicated legal field, so it can be pretty difficult to figure out how it works. However, it is very important that you have a general understanding of what to do when you get injured at your work. If you don't pursue a workers' compensation settlement, then you might not get any reparations at all for your injuries!
What is workers' compensation?
Commonly referred to as workers' comp, this is the legal realm related to individuals seeking financial damages for any harm that they were caused while on the job. It's an extremely broad field, and can cover anything from being negligently exposed to hazardous chemicals at your work to being injured in a car accident. There are generally a few main criteria that determine whether an injury is eligible for workers' comp.
- Were you performing a work-related function? If you get injured while tinkering on a personal project in your garage and claim that the injuries were work-related, then you probably shouldn't expect to qualify for workers' comp. However, if you get injured while working at your job in a factory, then you certainly might qualify.
- Was the injury the fault of the company? In some cases, the injury is the fault of the company, whether it's due to negligence, incompetence, or any number of other reasons. However, some injuries are due to the fault of the worker and thus are not eligible for workers' comp. For instance, if a worker has been educated on how to operate a machine and is injured while operating that machine incorrectly, then they probably won't get compensated. On the other hand, if an employee has NOT been educated on how to operate a machine, yet is asked to operate that machine and is injured as a result, then they may have a solid case.
Workers' compensation vs lawsuits
If you've seen some of the lawsuit sizes that are thrown around in the media, then you might be wondering why someone would pursue a workers' comp claim rather than a lawsuit. First of all, you have a much better chance of winning a workers' compensation claim. Second, a lawsuit can drag on for many months, which can be far too long for you to get the money you need to pay your medical bills. Finally, if you lose a lawsuit, you will have wasted a huge amount of time and money on absolutely nothing. Losing a workers' comp claim is a lot less costly.