When and how to receive workers’ comp benefits and a personal injury settlement
Workers’ compensation generally covers accidents at work, which is good news for employees who have medical bills from work-related accidents or miss work due to those injuries. But did you know there can be other parties responsible for work-related injuries? A Virginia personal injury attorney can counsel you on possible scenarios in which you can receive additional compensation for your injuries.
Workers’ compensation benefits do not cover pain and suffering, which is where a personal injury claim can be beneficial. Plus, some workers’ compensation insurance plans only cover for you to be off work for a certain timeframe even if your actual injury timeframe is longer.
Work-related injuries can include other parties for a variety of reasons, from faulty tools and equipment to other contractors who introduce hazards on a work site. Here’s a look at some of these common scenarios.
Faulty equipment and tools
Some workers’ compensation claims also have a faulty equipment or tool claim that go along with them. For example, a weakness or poor design of a ladder that causes a worker to fall and get injured could be a case where there is both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim.
Other scenarios might include tools that do not work the way they are supposed to and cause injury. Many tools that laborers use must operate just right to prevent injury so overlooking one small thing or having a design flaw could result in serious injury.
Multiple contractor accidents
Construction jobs put workers at risk of accidents because of the nature of the work that construction workers complete. Put multiple different contractors on a job site at once and the risks can increase.
Imagine a situation where one construction worker is building the façade while the electrician is completing wiring. The worker building the façade is up on a ladder dealing with heavy and hazardous materials with an electrician below them.
Should the construction worker drop equipment from up above, he or his company can be liable for the injury that the electrician sustains from the falling material. In such a circumstance, the electrician can seek personal injury compensation from the company that employs the construction worker.
That electrician can still receive workers’ compensation coverage for their injuries to cover their immediate needs and salary while recovering from the injury.
One of the most common workers’ compensation claims that are accompanied by a personal injury case is a car accident. If you drive for work (not just commuting to and from the office) and are injured in a car accident, you can seek both workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury lawsuit. Some common scenarios for work-related car rides include:
- Errands, such as picking up supplies
- Making deliveries
- Providing transportation for another employee
- Driving for a living, such as taxi drivers
- Traveling for work, such as salesmen who make sales calls
- Jobs that compensate you for your time in the car
For the most part, you won’t be able to seek workers’ compensation coverage for car accidents that happen on your daily commute to or from the office. However, be sure you discuss your case with an attorney because there are some situations where the courts would recognize your commute as being work-related. For example, if you stop to pick up office supplies or catering on your way into the office, that trip is now a work trip.
If you are not the responsible party in your work-related car accident, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. When you file for workers’ compensation coverage for a car accident that occurs while you are on the job, you do not have to prove fault. It does not matter if you are responsible for the accident or not, but in personal injury cases, it does matter who is at fault.
The one exception to this is if drugs and alcohol were involved in your work-related accident when you are at-fault for the accident. In those cases, your employer might not be responsible for paying out workers’ compensation benefits.
Gore & Kuperman attorneys
Gore & Kuperman attorneys know the Virginia laws and regulations around both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. This combination makes us a dynamic team of lawyers for your personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. Contact us at 703-385-7300 for an assessment of your case.
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