Anyone who has ever filed a workers' compensation claim knows how cumbersome the process is. And then, workers' compensation typically covers just medical bills and lost wages. In 2010, many noteworthy events happened in this area of law. Some of these events may impact the potential success of future claims that are filed, as described below.
But often employees are injured by the act of a third party-not the employer directly. When these individuals cause injuries to workers, the workers are not necessarily limited to workers' compensation. The worker may bring a work-related personal injury lawsuit against the third party who caused the injury, which can greatly increase the compensation available to those who have been injured.
At the Workers Compensation Research Institute's (WCRI) Annual Issues and Research Conference, participants from several different states discussed some of the challenges facing the workers' compensation system. One of the major issues concerns the difference in illness and injury rate between private and government employees. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 2010 was the first year where government employees exceeded the injury and illness rates of private employees.
Certain occupations also received significant attention at the conference. Oil rig workers and miners both had high-profile accidents in 2010, again stressing the dangers of those who work in these fields. This has led to a call for safer conditions for these employees, hoping that it will help cut down the number of deaths and serious injuries that occur every year.
One major issue for injured workers, especially those in Texas, concerns the remedies provided by the workers' compensation system. The system limits damages available to those who are hurt on the job. Employees are not able to bring personal injury lawsuits against their employers for injuries sustained while working, meaning that compensation is limited to amounts provided for in the statutes.
An experienced attorney can explain more fully the difference in these types of claims. It is crucial to have this discussion as soon as possible after your injury; significant delay can seriously damage your ability to bring a successful claim.