November 14, 2018 Category: Workplace Accident
Two Los Angeles workers were recently injured in an accident at a Los Angeles water filtration plant. According to reports, the two men suffered electrical burns to their face and other injuries that required immediate hospitalization. The cause of this workplace accident is currently under investigation.
Legal Options After a Workplace Accident
Since the two men were injured at work, they may have several options for recovering compensation. They may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits and/or pursue a lawsuit against their employer or a negligent third party.
Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Most employers in the state of California are required to purchase an insurance policy to cover the costs of employees’ on-the-job injuries and illnesses. This requirement extends to state agencies and departments. Since the two men were working at the time of the accident, they should be eligible to file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers must report their injury or illness to their employer as soon as possible. Any delay in reporting the injury could affect the worker’s claim for benefits. Once the employer has received notice, they’ll provide forms that are used to initiate the claims process. These forms (DWC 1 and e3301) provide details about the accident and the extent of the worker’s injuries.
An employer also has an obligation to make sure that injured workers seek medical treatment immediately. This can be through a medical professional selected by the employer or the worker’s pre-approved private physician. This medical professional’s report will affect the outcome of the workers’ compensation claim for benefits.
Injured workers may be entitled to receive the following benefits through a workers’ compensation claim:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability, and
- Death benefits (if applicable).
Workers are not permitted to recover money for pain and suffering when they collect workers’ compensation benefits.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Workers who receive workers’ compensation benefits generally waive the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. However, this waiver doesn’t apply if the employer engaged in serious and willful misconduct that caused your injury.
Injured workers may file a personal injury lawsuit if a third party caused the workplace accident. In fact, any third party that contributes to an accident can be held financially responsible for a worker’s injuries. For example, imagine that a worker is injured because a piece of equipment they used was defective. The worker could file a lawsuit to recover compensation from the company that manufactured or sold that product.
Injured workers who file a lawsuit may be entitled to receive the following compensation:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Statute of Limitations for Workplace Injury Claims
Injured workers will only have a limited amount of time to pursue compensation after an accident. The specific window will depend on whether they want to collect workers’ compensation benefits or file a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers Compensation Claim: A workers’ compensation claim for benefits must be filed within one year of either:
- The date of your workplace accident, or
- The date you reasonably discover the injury or illness.
However, your employer must still be notified within 30 days of the accident or when you notice the injury.
Personal Injury Claim: A personal injury claim for damages must be filed within two years of the date of the workplace accident. The statute of limitations can be tolled – or paused – if there is a reasonable delay in the discovery of your injury or illness.
Workers will be prohibited from getting the money they deserve if they do not file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. Speaking with an attorney immediately after an accident is the best way to ensure that a claim will be filed on time.
Have you been injured in a workplace accident? If so, you need to fully understand your legal options. Call our personal injury lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your case and help you determine the best strategy for recovering compensation.