When most people are injured on the job, workers compensation kicks in, and nothing else. This is because workers compensation represents a sort of bargain between employees and employers.
Employees agree not to sue. Employers pay for injuries regardless of fault. And mostly it works.
Yet in construction accident cases, there are often multiple parties involved in the site, and at times they really are negligent and responsible for the accident. Third party injuries occasionally happen in other lines of work, as well.
When this happens, you can indeed launch a workers compensation case and a personal injury case at the same time.
You’ll even often need to.
Personal Injury Cases Pay More than Workers Comp Cases
Workers compensation will not pay for loss of earning capacity or for pain and suffering. Those cases often leave employees in limbo, accepting substandard care to save insurance companies a couple of dollars. The amount of disability pay that workers compensation pays is often only 70% of a worker’s old pay.
Personal injury accounts for 100% of that amount.
Still, it’s useful to file both, and you should. For one thing workers compensation will get to work a lot faster than a personal injury case will. A construction accident case can take up to two years to fully resolve. You’ll need the workers compensation case to take care of you in the meantime.
You Cannot Double Dip
You will ultimately only get one settlement. Here’s how it works.
Let’s say the workers compensation company pays out $200,000 in medical bills and lost wages while you’re waiting for your construction accident lawsuit to complete.
Your personal injury suit pays $400,000.
You don’t get to walk away with, effectively, $600,000.
Instead, the workers compensation company will recover the $200,000, and you’ll take home the remaining $200,000. Either way your bills get paid and your wages compensated, and you walk away with more than you would have on workers compensation alone. But the personal injury case essentially proves that it wasn’t, strictly speaking, an “employment” accident, and so the workers compensation firm gets paid back. This is known as a “subrogation,” and it can be confusing and distressing to many clients until it is fully explained.
Get Help Quickly
Evidence often disappears in construction accident cases when you wait too long to press a personal injury suit. Often this isn’t necessarily the result of malfeasance on anybody’s part, but the motive doesn’t really matter. You’ll need every scrap of it if you’re going to prevail in court.
You don’t even have to ask yourself if you have a good case. You can schedule a free consultation with our office, and we’ll simply review the case facts and tell you. We’ll then answer your questions, and help you determine your next steps.
Contact us to get the help you deserve today.