When a worker suffers an injury on the job, they have the right to make a claim for compensation under the Worker’s Compensation Act. This includes several different types of damages.
Medical Bills, Lost Wages, Permanent Disability
The employer is responsible for the payment of medical bills for the care treatment of the injury suffered on the job. The employer is responsible for paying all medical expenses whether they are hospital or physician charges as long as the care is reasonable and necessary. There are some limitations on the employee's ability to choose his or her own doctor. It is important to consult with an attorney to discuss this issue.
Often the injured employee can’t return to work and wages are lost. Temporary disability payments are available and paid weekly to replace wages which cannot be earned because of the injury suffered. The amount paid is based upon the wage history of the employee.
In addition to the payment of medical expenses and for wages lost for time missed from work, an injured worker may be entitled to “permanent disability benefits”. This represents a lump sum payment, typically at the conclusion of the care representing the future disability the injured worker will suffer. The amount of this payment depends upon the severity of the injury and whether the injury will continue to cause disability in the future.
Negligence Claims Against Third Parties
Worker’s compensation claims are different than a liability claim against a “third party.” A “third party” case involves a negligence claim against a defendant responsible for causing the injury. It is not necessary to prove fault in a worker’s compensation case.
For example, if a worker is injured in a fall at work, he may have a worker’s compensation claim even if he was injured through no particular fault of his employer. The injury may have simply been part of the risks associated with his employment. If an individual falls and they are not on the job, a Chicago attorney must assess whether anyone was at fault in order to determine whether compensation may be available. Worker’s compensation cases and “third-party” cases are very different in this regard.
Sometimes a worker’s compensation case may also include a “third-party” case. For example, if a delivery driver is injured in a car accident on the job, he will typically have a worker’s compensation claim. In addition to the worker’s compensation claim, he would have a claim against the at-fault driver. In that circumstance, a lawyer will handle the worker’s compensation claim which will include the medical expenses as well as the time missed from work. The “third party” case will include several of the same elements of damage but will also include compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is not an element of damage that is compensable in a worker’s compensation claim and may be a significant element of damage in a case against a third party.
It is important to always evaluate whether a “third party” claim may be available when a worker’s compensation claim is investigated. The “third party” claim is often a significant source of compensation.
The “third party” claim may exist not only in the setting of a motor vehicle accident but also a fall or injury suffered as the result of a machine which malfunctioned if for example the maintenance of the machine was handled by someone other than the employer or a fall if the property was maintained and operated by someone other than the employer. These are issues which should be addressed promptly with an attorney.
There are requirements for an employee to immediately report a work-related injury or illness. If there is a significant delay it may impact the right to receive benefits. The notice can be given either in writing or orally. It is however important that it be given immediately. It is recommended that you speak with an attorney regarding a worker’s compensation claim shortly after the incident occurs. This allows not only the worker’s compensation claim to move forward but also other potential claims to be evaluated.
If you are injured on the job, contact McDevitt Law Offices, P.C. We can assist you in the handling of your worker’s compensation case and evaluate the possibility of any other claims or other potential sources of recovery. Contact us for a free case evaluation today.