By: Allan M. Siegel
Many accidents that lead to a personal injury claim occur in the workplace, and in some instances both a workers' compensation claim and a civil personal injury suit can be pursued. First, when workers are injured on the job, they can almost always pursue a workers' compensation claim. These claims are beneficial because they have a very low burden of proof. The workers only need to prove that they were hurt while on the job. They do not have to prove that the injury was caused through any negligence or fault of the employer. The compensation awarded through this type of claim, however, excludes a vital aspect of the case, the pain and suffering of the injured worker.
A workers' compensation claim is designed to cover only the medical expenses and lost wages, but there is a vital physical and emotional component of that case that should be justly compensated. For example, if you were hospitalized for a week after an accident you are entitled for the pain and suffering you physically and emotionally endured while you recovered. If the worker was left with a permanent injury, this should also be rightfully compensated.
A worker can file a lawsuit and collect additional damages, including but not limited to damages for pain and suffering, if the injury was caused by a third party. For example, if the paper shredder in your workplace malfunctioned and caused you serious injury, and you could show that the manufacturer of the paper shredder made a defective product, then you could bring a civil personal injury suit again the manufacturer of the paper shredder. If you were injured in the workplace, it is always best to check with a personal injury lawyer to fully understand your rights. An exception may apply that would allow you to pursue both a workers' compensation claim and a civil personal injury suit.
If you have questions regarding a personal injury that occurred in the workplace, the Washington, DC injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel can help you determine what types of claims are available to you.