Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and covers medical expenses for employees injured on the job. In exchange for the coverage no matter who was at fault, employees abdicate their right to sue the employer for negligence. Deviation from workers’ compensation allows the injured person to explore other avenues for compensation.
Financial limitations of workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation benefits serve as an immediate payment system that covers lost wages and expenses related to expenses sustained after a workplace injury. The payments for lost wages are modest, only accounting for two thirds of the pre-injury weekly wage. The income replacement payments cannot exceed the state’s average weekly wage.
Employees suffering a severe injury that makes return to work impossible may have difficulty obtaining adequate compensation. Also workers’ compensation only covers medical expenses relating to physical damage and not pain and suffering.
Other options for legal action
In cases of injuries caused by a third party, including injuries from equipment malfunction or toxic substance exposure, it is possible to hold the third party responsible. In general a third party claim is a claim against a non-employer who may be held liable for workplace injuries. Third parties encompass a wide array of liable parties such as equipment and chemical manufacturers, vendors, and owners of other businesses employees visit as part of their duties.
Negligence and product liability
Third party claims often take the form of negligence or product liability claims. In a third party negligence claim the injured worker must prove the third party’s duty, breach of duty, injury causation and resulting damages. Product liability claims are less complicated and product manufacturers can be held liable for defective products.
Third party claims allow the injured party to seek non economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering. Additionally, the court may award punitive damages to the injured party. When workers’ compensation fails to provide adequate compensation, employees should explore other avenues to receive a fair settlement.