What to Do When Injured at Work by Another Employee | Advice from a Lawyer
Workers' compensation insurance is there to cover all expenses incurred by an injured worker due to work-related injuries sustained while on the job. The process is usually straightforward and requires the employee injured on the job to file a workers' comp claim with their employer's insurance company.
However, what happens when a work-related injury is caused by a co-worker? When injured at work by another employee, the victim may be entitled to more than workers' compensation.
Usually, workers' compensation claims will cover any employee injured on the job regardless of who caused the accident. In some cases, the injured worker may decide to sue the at-fault worker directly. When choosing the preferred option, it is best to approach an experienced attorney who knows how to handle a Dallas, Texas, workers' compensation claim.
Steps to Take Before Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
From the moment the injury occurred, injured workers have a lot of steps to take before they even consider filing a workers' comp claim. The following are some of the important things to remember after a workplace accident:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The health and well-being of the injured worker need to be the most important things, especially in the case of a very serious workplace injury.
Occupational injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal, so they should be taken seriously at all times.
Report the Injury to the Employer
It is very important to make sure that the employer is immediately aware of the work-related injury so that they can take the necessary steps, such as investigating the injury and helping the employee get medical treatment.
At times, failing to report workplace accidents can cause problems when it comes to seeking workers' compensation coverage.
If the employee intends to seek workers' comp or launch a personal injury claim, they will need hard evidence to prove their case. This means taking pictures of the accident scene and getting statements from other employees who may have witnessed the accident.
When it comes to collecting evidence, no detail is too small. It is better to gather a lot of evidence and let the Dallas workers comp law firm decide what will be required in the personal injury lawsuit.
File an Accident Report
Injured employees need to remember to file an accident report so that they can receive their workers' compensation benefits. These forms will be provided by the state's workers' compensation board or by the employer.
Approach a Workers' Comp Attorney
Getting workers' comp benefits, or filing a personal injury claim against a co-worker, is not an easy task. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can provide more insight if you are re injured after returning to work. Employees should approach an experienced workers' compensation attorney early on so that they can make all the right decisions to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Receiving Workers' Compensation Benefits
One of the most essential things to do after a work-related injury is to file a workers' compensation claim. Regardless of whether the employee injured themselves or a co-worker caused the accident, the injury will still be covered by workers' compensation insurance.
Negligence, or establishing the at-fault party, is not as important in workers' compensation cases as it is in personal injury claims. The employee will be covered by workers' compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and any other expenses related to the injury.
However, unlike a personal injury claim, workers comp benefits do not cover pain and suffering.
Suing the Negligent Worker
There are limits to the workers' comp benefits that an employee's claim can cover. They will not be covered, for example, for the total amount of their lost wages.
Workers' compensation only covers up to a third of this. Issues may also arise when dealing with expenses related to permanent disability.
In such cases, it may be better to consider filing a personal injury claim against the co-worker who caused the accident that resulted in the injuries. The damages received could cover a lot more expenses than workers' compensation insurance.
Suing the Employer
Another legal option that is worth considering is suing the employer for the injuries that the co-worker caused. However, this is only a viable option in particular circumstances, for example:
In cases of serious injuries, such as multiple bone fractures or traumatic brain injury.
If the employer knew that the co-worker posed a significant risk to their colleagues but did nothing.
Situations Not Covered by Workers Compensation Insurance
Not all situations will be covered by workers' comp claims. While it is true that most injuries caused by a co-worker at the workplace will be eligible, the following are important exceptions to remember:
All injuries caused by horseplay between the employees involved in the workplace accident.
Any accidents that occur during the employee's lunch break or while they are off the clock.
Intentional injuries inflicted as a result of a fight between employees.
Injuries sustained by workers employed by an employer deemed too small to require workers comp coverage.
Workplace incidents caused by a co-worker who is an independent contractor.
Injuries that occur while the employee is commuting to and from work.
Accidents caused by being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Any on-the-job injury that is associated with criminal activities.
Reimbursing Workers' Comp
If an employee decides that they would rather sue their co-worker, they should know that the process will not be a quick one. Personal injury claims can take a very long time to complete, and it may be a few months before injured workers receive fair compensation. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for questions like, "Is Light Duty considered lost time?"
In the meantime, workers comp benefits will cover all the costs for medical care, lost wages, and other expenses. However, as soon as the personal injury claim is finalized, the employee will be expected to reimburse the workers' comp provider.
An Injured Employee Needs a Good Workers Comp Attorney
Being injured as a result of other employees' negligence can make filing for workers' comp complicated.
However, after injured workers seek medical care, they can discuss their legal options with a workers' compensation lawyer and decide whether to file a workers' comp claim, sue their co-worker, or sue the employer instead.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has been going to war for Dallas workers for many years and is just one call away for anyone injured at work by another employee.