What are the recovery options available to a victim of ‘workplace accident’ other than the workers’ compensation Act?
When a person gets injured or killed while working for their employer, they have every right to bring a claim or a lawsuit against the latter. To avail workers’ compensation benefits, employees are not required to prove the fault of the employer. A worker injured on the job may be entitled to benefits such as medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning potential due to a temporary or permanent disability. Since workers’ compensation law varies from one state to the other, it becomes very complex to understand.
What benefits could be availed under the Workers’ Compensation Act?
When an employee suffers injuries at work, they may either get permanently disabled, which renders them unemployable for a lifetime. In case of a temporary disability, they fail to command the same salary as they were drawing prior to the injury. While medical benefits’ coverage includes all bills of the treatment of an injury at workplace, another benefit that an injured employee can seek compensation for is ‘loss of income or lost wages’. However, this benefit could be availed as stated in workers’ compensation statutes’.
Disability/indemnity benefits are subject to statutorily-defined limits and are based on the gravity of the injury and the expected duration of the recuperation.
What are the Recovery Options an Employee has besides the Workers’ Compensation?
While the workers’ compensation system provides disability and indemnity benefits, its scope is limited to being a remedy or a no-fault system. However, if an employee manages to prove the negligence of an employer by providing clinching evidence, the employee or the worker is eligible to claim compensatory damages from the employer, a clause not provided for in the ‘workers’ compensation act’. An employee, under a civil claim, can seek damages for past and future loss of earnings or capacity to earn, medical bills, loss of enjoyment and other significant damages. Listed below are some exceptions to the no-fault system that allow an injured worker to take action against his/ her employer:
- Dual Capacity
- Fraudulent Concealment
- Assault by employer
- Power Press
- Uninsured employer
If any one of these exceptions applies, the employee has a right to file a civil suit against the employer while leveraging the benefits of workers’ compensation act.