One of the biggest worries workers often have after accidents on the job is figuring out how they'll pursue a claim and be compensated. The traditional comp system is sometimes sufficient, but there are situations where it might not be. Let's look at four scenarios and learn what a work accident lawyer may have to say.
The Standard Scenario
In a normal situation, someone is a regular employee of a company. They file a W2 when they pay their taxes, and that means any case they file will almost always go through the workers' compensation system. They'll have to document their injuries, usually within three weeks of getting hurt even if they're not sure whether they'll file. A claim will be submitted to their insurance carrier. If it's rejected, they might get a work accident attorney and contest the claim in front of a judge.
This one can be a bit tricky. It's important to determine whether the 1099 system was being abused. If you had to show up every day to the job site and couldn't refuse assignments, there's a good chance you're a regular employee. Some companies employ people this way to skirt the workers' comp system, but you can file a claim and see what the law has to say.
If you are a proper contractor, though, you'll likely have to file a personal injury claim. This entails filing a claim through the contracting party's insurance company. If they're not insured, you may have to directly sue them.
Employees of Contractors
This scenario can land either way. Depending on the nature of the incident, you might have to seek a claim through your employer. If the bulk of the fault lies with the contracting party, though, you may need to take action in a manner similar to a 1099 contractor.
Cases of Extremely Dangerous Behavior
The workers' compensation system is designed to reduce the number of lawsuits involving on-the-job accidents. Unfortunately, there are scenarios where the level of fault may exceed what comp is meant to cover. Generally, comp covers what in injury law is known as ordinary negligence. This is when a party just messes up, such as leaving a wheelbarrow in a bad spot and someone ends up being hurt.
Gross negligence, wanton disregard, recklessness, and malice, however, may require an injury claim or suit rather than a compensation case. In these scenarios, the at-fault party either meant to cause harm or did something so egregious that a reasonable person should have known it could hurt someone.
If you are suffering from an accident at work, contact a work accident attorney for help.