Suffering an injury due to a work-related accident could cause considerable complications. Serious injuries may require that you take time away from work to recover and could also lead to numerous medical bills, which may leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, instances in which your injuries occurred due to employer carelessness or other qualifying circumstances could potentially lead to workers' compensation.
How does workers' comp help?
Individuals who qualify for workers' compensation benefits often receive payments to assist with conditional expenses. Luckily, this type of insurance covers a variety of financial difficulties including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Retraining costs
- Permanent injury compensation
Additionally, survivors' benefits may also apply. These benefits extend beyond helping the injured party. If a person suffers fatal injuries in a work-related accident, his or her surviving family may obtain benefits that could help with income hardships resulting from the fatal event.
What counts as a qualifying injury?
Many serious injuries that result from a workplace accident qualify for workers' compensation. Spinal injuries, head injuries, broken bones, paralysis and a multitude of other injuries that could stem from a sudden accident often lead to the need for benefits. Additionally, injuries and illnesses that develop over time may also qualify. Carpal tunnel syndrome, mesothelioma, back problems and other issues that come about due to repetitive motions or long-term exposure to hazardous materials may meet qualifications.
When does workers' comp not apply?
After a workplace injury occurs, an investigation should take place. During this process, if authorities discover that the injuries were self-inflicted or came about due to your violating company policies or safety measures, a denial of your workers' compensation claim could occur. Drug and alcohol testing could also take place, and, if you were under the influence at the time your injuries occurred, that information may disqualify you for benefits.
An important note: Workers' compensation does not cover pain and suffering resulting from injuries.
Can you sue your employer?
If the fault for your accident and injuries falls on your employer, you do have the option to sue for compensation. However, if you follow this route, you forfeit your claim to any workers' compensation benefits that may have resulted from your accident. Additionally, if you choose to accept workers' comp, you forfeit the ability to file a lawsuit against your employer.
In order to ensure that you obtain reliable information about your workers' compensation options, you may wish to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania attorney.