Injuries can happen at any workplace; however, they are especially common in the following industries:
- First Responders: Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS
- Professional Drivers
- Pilots and Flight Engineers
- Health Care
There isn’t a specific type of injury or injuries that workers are able to file a claim against. If the injury was sustained in the workplace, it is considered a workplace injury, and you may be eligible for compensation. In most states, businesses are required to cover paid employees with worker’s compensation insurance, no matter how small the company is.
Most Common Workplace Injury Claims
The most common workplace injury claims are for:
- Being struck by or against an object
- Highway incidents, violence
- Machinery accidents
- Overexertion (carrying, lifting, pushing, etc.)
Worker’s compensation is generally available to all paid employees at a company; however, in some states, there are exceptions.
Even if you are not eligible for worker’s compensation, your employer may still be responsible for your workplace injury. These cases are highly specific; therefore, we recommend consulting with an attorney. If you file for worker’s compensation, you typically give up your rights to sue your employer. For this reason, we encourage you to be sure your injuries are minor and will completely heal before filing without legal consult.
Can You Sue When Injured at Work?
We advise that you consider a lawyer if you have severe injuries or obtain an injury that results in ongoing medical needs. For example, if you obtain a head injury that requires stitches, but are also diagnosed with a concussion, you’ll be suffering from the consequences of the concussion long after the wound has healed.
We also recommend that you consult with a lawyer if you don’t understand the paperwork or are being pushed into signing documents without being able to review them. You should definitely hire a lawyer if you will be going into a court room.
There are some very specific situations in which you can hire a lawyer to sue outside of workers compensation:
- If a third party caused your injury — for example, if you get in an accident while driving a company car and sue the other driver for negligence.
- If your employer does not have worker’s compensation insurance — in these cases, you must prove the employer was completely at fault, which takes a calculated and thorough case.
- If the injury was a result of intentional actions — for example, if you are physically assaulted at work (cannot file these types of cases in all states, but permitted in West Virginia).
- If you were injured by a toxic substance — including asbestos and radium, etc.
- If you were injured by a defective product — for example, if you work with machinery and the machine was defective, the company who produces the machine may be responsible.
When working through a workplace injury claim, you need to think long-term.
If you obtain a head injury, you need to consider the very real possibility that the injury may cause headaches long-term. If the headaches are so severe that you have to take time off from work, you’ll continue to suffer from lost wages.
A lawyer can help you think long-term.
Fair compensation isn’t just for current medical bills and immediate lost wages after the accident.
Fair compensation includes:
- Future medical bills
- Future lost wages due to ongoing issues with the injury
- Any necessary physical therapy/rehabilitation
Hiring a lawyer will also help you should the injury render you unable to do your job. In these cases, you may need compensation to help you learn a new skill in order to do a different job.