When you’ve suffered an injury at work, especially one that requires you to take time off of work to recover, it’s important to understand what your rights are as an employee or if your situation warrants legal action.
While workers’ compensation is often available to those who were accidentally injured at work, there are circumstances where that just isn’t an option. In order to understand what the best course of action is for your recovery and financial future, an attorney from Solomon Law Group can explain whether you should file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim after a work injury.
Workers’ Compensation Claims in South Carolina
All 50 states have workers’ compensation laws. In South Carolina, the Workers’ Compensation Commission manages employees’ claims and determines what benefits are available. Workers’ comp coverage is meant to protect employees who would not have been injured if they were not on the job working for someone else.
When deciding if you’re going to pursue a workers’ compensation claim, you have to verify you were injured at your physical workplace or off-site while carrying out work directly related to your job. If, however, you were commuting to or traveling from work when you were injured, a situation like that would not warrant a workers’ comp claim.
If workers’ compensation is the right decision for you, you won’t have to prove that your employer, a co-worker, or another party caused your injury. You will be entitled to benefits regardless of fault. The benefits you receive, however, will likely be based on the extent and permanency of your injuries.
It’s important to note that workers’ compensation will not cover anything outside of economic damages. This means that while you’ll be able to recover money for medical expenses, weekly compensation for wages, permanent impairments benefits, and vocational rehabilitation, you will not be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering.
Work Injuries and Personal Injury Claims
While a workers’ compensation claim is limited to workers and fault is not a factor, personal injury claims are broader in the sense that anyone who is injured because of another party’s negligence can file a personal injury claim.
In order for an injured worker to recover damages through a personal injury claim, they have to be able to prove negligence. Doing so is a multi-step process. First, you have to be able to prove that the allegedly negligent party owed you a duty of care. Once that’s established, you can focus on how they breached that duty. If, for example, you were injured because of a defective piece of heavy machinery, you can point out that the manufacturing company owed you a duty of care to provide equipment that was safe to use.
Once duty and breach of duty are established, you can focus on explaining your losses, with a focus on your physical injuries, and determining what you feel you’re owed as a result.
With personal injury claims, you can recover compensation for your economic losses, like those discussed above, but you also have the chance to recover noneconomic compensation for more subjective losses like pain and suffering and impacted quality of life. When you work with a workers’ compensation attorney, they’ll be able to help you determine how much compensation to seek to cover your losses.
In the event you pursue a claim but negotiations are not resulting in full and fair compensation, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. You may be able to successfully file a lawsuit if you were injured by a defective product or toxic or illegal substance, your employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance when they were required to, or if your injury was caused by an outside source that has no connection to your company.
Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options
The stress of suffering a work injury can affect a person not only physically, but also mentally. Because of that, you may not feel up to pursue workers’ comp or an injury claim. If that’s the case and you’re seeking legal guidance, Solomon Law Group is here for you.
Our attorneys understand the challenges involved with pursuing an injury claim while trying to recover and manage your expenses. That’s why when you seek our legal representation, we’ll do what we can to manage your claim for you while you focus on what matters most—healing.
To learn more about what you should do after a work injury, get in touch with our firm today. We’ll schedule a meeting to discuss your options and help you determine how best to proceed to protect your future.