Do I Have a Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury Lawsuit After Getting Injured at Work?
You always thought that if you got injured while on the job, you’d automatically qualify for a workers’ compensation settlement. However, now you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit on your hands instead. How do you know the difference? You can figure it out by researching if you have a workers’ comp or personal injury lawsuit after getting injured at work, and then calling an experienced lawyer to help you with your case.
Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with workers’ comp and personal injury cases. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve.
What Is Workers’ Comp?
Workplace injuries can happen at any time, and to any person – not just people in high-risk jobs like construction, logging, mining, or trucking. When injuries or illnesses occur on the job, typically, a worker will go through workers’ comp to receive compensation. Workers’ comp will cover medical bills and a loss of wages if someone has to go through treatment and take time off work. Each state determines the medical and wage benefits that an injured worker will receive. Workers’ comp protects employers from civil suits, and their insurance will pay out the workers’ compensation to the employee.
The injury or illness needs to occur in the course and scope of the job. The injury doesn’t have to be sudden, like suffering from burns after a fire on the factory line. It can also occur overtime. For instance, if you suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome because you performed a repetitive motion day in and day out at your work, then that may also qualify.
What Is Personal Injury?
Personal injury occurs when a person acts in a negligent manner, and their negligence causes another person to become injured. For example, if someone was driving recklessly and crashed into your car and injured you, you could pursue a personal injury case against them. You could also sue a business or a government entity for personal injury if it happens on their property. With this kind of case, you could be eligible for financial damages like your medical bills, a loss of wages, pain and suffering, and a loss of enjoyment of life, which is more than you can pursue with a workers’ comp case.
Workers Comp vs. Personal Injury After Getting Injured at Work
You may not know whether you should initiate a workers’ comp or personal injury case after getting injured at work. Here’s how to determine which one is best.
If you got injured while performing your job, then it’s likely going to qualify as a workers’ compensation case. However, if a third party was involved and they caused you injury, then you’d start a personal injury case.
For example, let’s say you were driving the company car and going to the post office to mail some packages for your boss. On the way, someone was driving while texting and hit your car, which caused you to break your arm. You became injured because of the other driver’s negligence, and you could go after them for a settlement.
In another example, a delivery person may have come to your office and threw a package without seeing where it landed. It hit you in the head and now you’re suffering from constant migraines from the pain. You could pursue a personal injury lawsuit against that delivery person and/or their employer, depending on the circumstances.
If your employer was directly responsible for your workers’ comp injury, then you’ll need to initiate a workers’ comp case against them. For example, you may have gotten injured when you were working on a construction site and a falling object hit you. Your employer didn’t put up the proper safeguards to stop falling objects before they hit the ground, so they would be responsible.
Even if your workers’ comp case seems straightforward, it’s always worth it to contact a workers’ comp and personal injury lawyer for their opinion. You never know; a third party could be responsible for your injury. For instance, let’s say a machine backfired on the factory line and injured you, but it wasn’t your employer’s fault technically. The machine had faulty parts, and the company that made it could be to blame. You never know if you could be entitled to more damages than you originally thought.
What to Do After You Get Injured
If you got injured and you believe you’re eligible for workers’ comp, then the first thing to do is report your injury in writing to your supervisor. Don’t simply tell them about it. Then, you’ll need to get treatment from your doctor as soon as possible and be vigilant about that treatment. Of course, it’s a good idea to contact a workers’ comp lawyer right away.
When it comes to personal injury, take photographs of your injuries, collect witness statements, start a police record of the incident, and gather the responsible party’s insurance information. Note if there are any cameras around that captured what happened on tape as well. Then, go to the hospital immediately for treatment and stay on top your care. Take medicine as prescribed, go to follow-up appointments, and do whatever you can to feel better. Don’t tell the insurance company anything about the accident, because they’re going to try to give you much less than you deserve. Instead, call a personal injury lawyer ASAP to start your case.
When you hire a workers’ comp or personal injury lawyer, they will only charge you if they can win a settlement for you. If they agree to take on your case, it means they think they can win it.
Even if you believe your employer has your best interests in mind, that’s not always the case. You have to look out for your health above all else and ensure that you are protected now that you’re injured and out of work for the time being. Securing representation is the best way to go about this and get what you deserve.
Get in Touch With Heiting & Irwin for Help
If you are dealing with an injury and you believe you’re eligible for a settlement through workers’ comp or a personal injury lawsuit, then it’s time to find a lawyer to represent you. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many workers’ comp and personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that is rightfully yours. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to initiate your case today.