Even a minor injury while on the job can cause big problems. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over three million nonfatal injuries and illnesses are reported annually and of those approximately 4,600 die. Thankfully, many lives have been saved since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970 but there are still risks.
If you get injured on the job, the first step is to seek appropriate medical attention. However, from there you could face a number of challenges. The good news is that most employers do the right thing in making sure you are paid, that medical expenses are covered under worker’s compensation insurance, and that your job remains secure. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this same experience.
When to Seek Legal Assistance
While job-related injuries are typically handled through the payment of normal salary, compensation through insurance, and job stability, some exceptions exist. Under those circumstances, you may have the ability to file a formal lawsuit for damages caused by the injury. Examples of these situations include:
- Defective Product – If an injury was caused by a defective product, your attorney can bring product liability action against the manufacturing company
- Toxic Substance – If you were injured due to a toxic substance, a toxic tort lawsuit can be filed, again going against the manufacturer
- Egregious or Intentional Conduct – If the injury were the result of your employer’s conduct, whether egregious or intentional, there is the possibility of bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the employer
- Lack of Worker’s Compensation – In the event your employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance, you may be able to file a civil case against that employer or depending on the circumstance, collect compensation that comes from a state fund.
- Responsible Third Party – If an on-the-job injury was caused by a third party, there is a good chance of filing a personal injury lawsuit against that individual
Reasons for Hiring an Attorney
To ensure you receive due compensation and have job security, it is essential to hire a qualified attorney. However, there is another reason that is equally as important. Even when your employer has done all the right things, including the provision of worker’s compensation insurance, the process for receiving temporary or permanent disability payments is usually slow. Your attorney will work hard through complex issues in order to secure compensation for you as quickly as possible.
Even with worker’s compensation, certain things are not covered such as pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages, which are intended as a type of punishment for the employer who was negligent in providing a safe environment in which to work. Because there are many different facets of a work-related injury, you always want to seek legal advice from a well-known attorney. That way, any risk of delay, denial, or an unacceptable offer of compensation is avoided.