If you've been injured at work, your employer's workers' compensation insurance should help pay for your medical bills. However, like many other insurance plans, workers' compensation isn't perfect and can be complicated. Before you file your workers' compensation claim, check out these three facts, so you know you are getting the settlement you deserve.
Your Employer Should Have Workers' Compensation Insurance
It's legally required for most businesses to have workers' compensation insurance, but some smaller business may be excluded. The goal of workers' compensation is to protect you and your employer. As long as you were working at the time of the accident, the claim should be covered, regardless of who caused the accident. Of course, if you were under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, or you were roughhousing instead of working, your employer may claim you weren't working at all. In return, you can't typically sue your employer if you are injured while working unless they don't have workers' compensation (even if they are exempt from providing the insurance) or if they don't provide enough coverage.
A Pre-Existing Condition May Affect Your Settlement
If you have a pre-existing condition, you may want to hire an attorney because your claim may be denied. The insurance carrier may argue the pre-existing condition caused the injury, disqualifying you. However, a pre-existing condition doesn't necessarily exempt you from qualifying for a settlement if you can prove your work worsened the pre-existing condition. In addition, you'll need to prove the injury would have happened even if you didn't have the pre-existing condition. This can be complicated, which is why an attorney is your best ally to prove injuries and negotiate a fair settlement.
You May Be Able to Sue a Third-Party Manufacturer
In some cases, you want an attorney because you can sue a third-party manufacturer. This only occurs if something (product, equipment, etc.) caused your injury because of a defect. In this case, you can typically file the workers' compensation claim to get fast reimbursement for medical bills and some lost income. However, with your attorney, you can pursue a private lawsuit. With a lawsuit, you can win money to cover your medical bills, all lost income and pain and suffering, but you have to prove the third-party manufacturer caused the injury and wait for a decision. If you do sue for medical bills and lost wages, you will likely have to repay workers' compensation because you can't be compensated twice for the same money, such as lost income.
Ideally, workers' compensation claims are easy because you don't have to prove fault. However, even when you think a claim is cut and dry, there can be complications or extenuating circumstances. If you believe you need to file a lawsuit or want help in filing your workers' compensation claim, contact a workers' compensation attorney in your area today.