Spokane Workplace Accident Attorney
Workers have a right to feel safe at their jobs. They should be properly trained and equipped to perform their daily duties without risking injury. Serious workplace injuries due to improper safety protections and defective equipment are a tragic reality for workers of all occupations. These injuries often leave people unable to support themselves and their families. The long-term effects can be devastating.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
Businesses are required to provide worker’s compensation to any employees who are injured on the job. This usually means increased convenience for everyone, since employees do not have to file lawsuits to be compensated for injuries on the job.
The tradeoff, however, is that employees cannot sue for additional compensation from their employers once they have received worker’s compensation. Sometimes the compensation provided by this program is inadequate. For one thing, it does not include damages for reduced quality of life or other emotional sufferings. Sometimes employees do not even receive adequate compensation to cover all of their medical and living expenses if they are out of work due to their injuries.
Damages you may be able to recover under workers’ compensation:
- Medical expenses
If an employee is injured at work by the actions of a third-party, the employee can file an action to recover additional damages available above and beyond a workers compensation claim. This is done by making a claim for damages or if necessary filing a lawsuit.
What is a Third-Party Injury Claim?
Depending on the nature of your injury and accident, there may be multiple parties responsible. When an injury is caused by someone who is not your employer or co-worker, you are still entitled to recover all of the damages you have suffered from the work accident.
An example of this is when multiple contractors are working at the same job site, and a contractor from one company negligently causes injury to a contractor from another company. The injured person may be entitled to both workers’ compensation benefits from his employer, as well as compensation from the employer of the contractor who caused the injuries.
Workplace accidents happen all too often. Most workers’ compensation situations should be examined to determine if there is a case for Third Party Liability. This is a complicated area. You need an experienced lawyer working on your behalf. Prompt investigation is key and adhering to the strict guidelines is a must—you could jeopardize your claim if the procedures are not followed.
Some scenarios that may qualify for a third party liability claim:
- injured at a construction site where multiple companies are working
- injured on the job while working on property belonging to someone other than your employer
- injured at work due to a defective product or piece of equipment
- vehicle accident while performing your job
- injured on the job by a worker employed by another company
Possibilities for Liable Parties in Third Party Claims:
- Driver of the vehicle involved in the work-related accident
- Owner of the vehicle, if other than employer
- Property owner, if other than employer
- Manufacturer of the product/equipment
- Landlord of property
- Electric company
- Fuel company
- Propane company
- Cable company
Although an employer cannot be sued due to worker’s compensation laws, in some situations a third party is involved in an employee’s injuries. Some examples:
- If an employee is hurt by a faulty product while at work, the manufacturer of that equipment can be held liable.
- If an employee is injured due to unsafe conditions on third party property, the owner of that property may be responsible for the injury.
- If an employee is injured by a third party while at the employee’s place of work, that third party and potentially his or her employer can be found responsible.
If one or more of these situations applies to you, you may have grounds for a workplace injury lawsuit.
Steps You Should Take After a Workplace Accident
If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. However, there are specific things you need to do after the accident to protect your right to receive benefits.
1. See a Doctor Right Away
Seeing a doctor immediately after a workplace injury is important both to get the medical care necessary to treat your injuries and also to ensure your injuries are properly documented.
2. Document Your Experience
If possible take photos and video of the scene. Obtain the names of all witnesses and talk to them about their observations, and get their contact information. Write down what you remember leading up to and after the accident.
3. Report Your Injury to Your Employer as Soon as Possible
It is crucial that employees report an injury to their employer as soon as possible. In many cases, employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies try to deny claims if the injury was not promptly reported.
4. Track Everything—Missed Days of Work, Travel, and All Expenses
Any expenses related to your injury should be closely tracked and documented in the days and weeks following the incident. This includes medical bills, lost work hours/wages, transportation costs, etc.
5. Follow all recommended treatment plans
To continue receiving worker’s compensation benefits, you should follow the recommended course of treatment. If you are not satisfied with the medical care you are receiving, you may be able to change doctors or get a second opinion.
Insurance Companies Defend Their Own Interests
Because workplace injuries can be so different—more severe, more devastating, and because so much insurance coverage exists with large companies—insurance carriers will vigorously defend third-party accident claims. Businesses and their insurance companies are likely to try to shift blame to the innocent injured victim or to minimize the victim’s injuries. In high damage workplace injury cases, insurance companies and the defense will often use every trick in the book to try to get out of paying the injured the compensation they are entitled.
To learn more about insurance companies read our 8 Things You Should Know About Insurance Companies post.
Protect Yourself and Your Family—Hire An Experienced Injury Lawyer
Contact Spokane’s Personal Injury Attorney Robert Hahn if you’d like us to look at your case. We offer a free no-obligation consultation. It’s always best to be sure what your options are under the law.
For over 20 years Robert Hahn has represented hard-working Americans who were hurt, and families of those who have died as a result of unsafe premises, construction negligence, and the lack of workplace safety. We have the experience to answer your questions, find solutions, determine the responsible parties, and move forward to pursue those responsible for your injuries or loss of life. We are here to help—contact us today at (509)921-9500 for experienced, compassionate, and aggressive representation.