Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence?
We understand that after you’ve been injured on the job, you’ll want to do everything in your power to make that wrong right. And sometimes, simply receiving workers’ compensation for your injury doesn’t feel like enough. However, according to workman’s comp law, you are not allowed to sue your employer for negligence. The only avenue is through workers’ compensation.
As a follow up question, I frequently have clients ask, “But what if I can prove that my employer was negligent?” Even if they were somehow negligent, you still cannot sue.
It IS possible to get an additional 10% penalty against your employer if you can prove that they willfully failed to comply with any statutory requirement; however, cases of the Industrial Commission enforcing this penalty are very rare. “Willful Failure” is a very high standard to meet. Generally the employer would have to be at fault for something far more serious.
The only exception to being able to sue your employer in the case of an injury is if your employer was required by law to carry workers’ compensation and failed to do so. In this case, your employer cannot claim the Workers’ Compensation Act as a defense in a lawsuit. In this case, you would be able to sue.
In the vast majority of cases, you may not sue your employer for negligence. When it comes to workers’ comp cases, it’s always a good idea to work with an experienced attorney who has a good understanding of what you can or can’t do with your case.
Do I Have to Pay Back Bills Paid by Health Insurance?
Sometimes it can take a while before workers’ compensation benefits kick in. This means while you’re waiting, you’re responsible for covering the costs of treatment. If you have health insurance, it’s possible that they’ll cover your medical bills while you’re waiting for workman’s comp benefits. So what happens once you’ve been awarded workers’ comp benefits? Will you have to pay your insurance company back?
Like many things in the world of workers’ comp, there is no easy yes or no: the answer depends on a few factors. If your health insurance is an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Plan, then you will likely have to pay at least some of the money back. Frequently, multi-state employers carry these kinds of plans.
On the other hand, if you have a local health plan, chances are you won’t have to pay them back. However, in order to ensure you won’t have to pay it back, you’ll need to have your attorney put the proper language into your settlement documents.
If your workers’ comp claim is denied and your health insurance is denying coverage, make sure to send a copy of your Form 61 to your insurance company. This will notify them that you are not receiving workers’ comp benefits, and that they are supposed to begin covering your bills.
It’s possible that you may receive a letter from your insurance company asking for details about your workman’s compensation claim. If this happens, you’ll want to have a conversation with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss next steps.
Dealing with a workers’ comp claim can be incredibly complicated. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side to help you navigate the process. Don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free consultation.
Do Family Members Earn Benefits If Someone Dies as the Result of a Workplace Injury?
We always want to make sure that our loved ones are taken care of — which is why it’s important to know where your family stands should anything happen to you on the job or as a result of a workplace injury. In the event of death, are your family members covered by workers’ compensation?
Whether or not a worker’s family will receive death benefits and workman’s comp has to do with their financial relationship. If they are wholly dependent on the worker and their earnings, they will share the death benefits equally. For instance, if a worker leaves behind a wife and dependent child, they would be considered wholly dependent. If the deceased worker has no dependents, then a portion of their benefits would go to any partial dependents.
Generally, benefits are paid out every week for a minimum of 500 weeks. For dependent children, they will receive benefits until they turn 18. For the spouse, they will pay benefits until their own death or until they remarry. Workers’ compensation also covers funeral expenses up to $10,000.
In order to receive these benefits, the deceased worker’s next of kin will need to file for workers’ compensation with the Industrial Commission within 30 days of the employee’s death.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a workplace injury, be sure to reach out to an experienced attorney to help you through the process. Don’t go it alone — contact Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.
When Workplace Injury Leads to Disability
If you’ve suffered a disability after a workplace injury, you might qualify for several accommodations. What kind of benefits you receive will depend on the severity of your injury and how long it will take for you to recover. There are four kinds of workers’ compensation disability benefits:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Temporary Total Disability benefits cover injuries that are severe, but that you are expected to recover from. In this case, severe means that your injury prevents you from returning to work. It is your responsibility as the injured party to prove that you are disabled in order to receive these benefits. You will stop receiving these benefits once you return to work.
Temporary Partial Disability benefits are given to injured employees who are able to return to work but in a limited capacity at a lower wage. You might be taking on a different job or returning to the same position, but with work restrictions. These benefits are designed to accommodate your cut in wages and recovery expenses.
Permanent Partial Disability benefits begin when you have reached the end of your healing period, but are still impaired in some way due to your workplace injury. The Workers’ Compensation Act outlines some of the ways in which you might be compensated. You will receive these benefits for a certain amount of time based on which part of the body was injured.
Permanent Total Disability benefits are paid in the event that your workplace injury has permanently affected your ability to work at all. In these cases, if you’re considered unfit to work again, you’ll receive PTD benefits for the rest of your life.
Regardless of the severity of your workplace injury, you deserve compensation. It’s a good idea to speak with an attorney about the different options. An experienced attorney will be able to tell you which kinds of benefits you’ll likely need to receive and know the course of action you’ll need to take in order to get them.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury that has resulted in a disability, don’t hesitate to contact Oxner + Permar. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, we have the experience to protect your rights and get the benefits you deserve.
Can Minors Receive Workers’ Compensation?
Whether it’s putting money towards college, saving up for their first car, or helping out the family, many teenagers find themselves working part-time jobs on top of their studies. It’s a common part of the teenage experience. Unfortunately, young age does not prevent injury, and teenagers can get hurt at work just like anyone else. So before you get to work, it’s a good idea to know your rights.
In the U.S. all minors must be covered by workers’ compensation. In some states such as North Carolina, workers under the age of 18 are given additional protections.
For instance, in a regular workers’ comp case, your benefits will usually be calculated based on the amount you have made over the past year. However, if the case involves a minor, benefits will be determined according to their future earning capacity. In other words, they will look at how much the minor would be making if they’d been promoted as an adult.
It’s also important to note that in the case of permanent partial disability or permanent total disability cases, you may need to have a legal parent or guardian appear in court.
Getting a job as a teenager can be a significant first step into the adult world. As such, it’s important to be aware of your rights and know what you should do if you’re hurt on the job. Don’t hesitate to speak to an experienced attorney. We can help guide you through your case and ensure that your rights are being protected.
In North Carolina, workers under the age of 18 qualify for workers’ compensation benefits that take into consideration their future at their workplace. If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to call Oxner + Permar for a free consultation so we can see what compensation you may be entitled to.