Getting the help you need to achieve as full a recovery as possible after suffering a work-related injury can be challenging, to say the least. It doesn't make it any easier that so much misinformation circulates regarding the workers' compensation process in Minnesota and throughout the nation. Trying to navigate the system alone can be like adding fuel to a fire where after-accident stress is concerned. However, you can take comfort in knowing there's a support network available to help you.
Hopefully, this post will clarify a few issues that often cause confusion when injured workers attempt to file claims for benefits. What's true and what's not? Take a look at this list to determine fact from fiction:
Fiction: You have to prove your employer was negligent in some way in order to collect benefits after a workplace accident has resulted in your injury.
Fact: All states operate under a no-fault workers' compensation system. Who may or may not have been negligent in the events leading up to your injury is irrelevant when it comes to being eligible for workers' comp benefits. In exchange for the right to receive benefits no matter who is at fault, workers forfeit the right to file personal injury claims against their employers.
Fiction: Under no circumstances can an employer be sued by an employee.
Fact: If you believe your employer intentionally caused you bodily, emotional or financial injury, you have every right to file an intentional tort claim against him or her in a civil court.
Fiction: You're out of luck if your injury was the result of a third party.
Fact: A product manufacturer may be subject to a lawsuit if a defective product has caused someone using it to be injured. This goes for workplace equipment as well. In fact, there have been past situations where employers have become co-plaintiffs in claims filed by workers against third parties.
Fiction: Employers may choose whether or not to purchase workers' compensation insurance.
Fact: The law requires all employers (minus those who qualify for special exemptions) to purchase workers' compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees injured on the job. If you suffered injuries in a workplace accident and your employer has not fulfilled this requirement, he or she could face stiff fines and penalties, as well as civil litigation.
A most urgent factor following an on-the-job injury is obtaining medical help. Your injuries may also require an extended period of recuperation, during which time you might be unable to work. Collecting maximum benefits in as swift a manner as possible may be crucial to helping you make ends meet in the meantime. It's no secret that rest and peace of mind are key factors toward a successful recovery. Knowing your family will be provided for without worry can go a long way toward keeping stress to a minimum.
In such circumstances, a workers' compensation attorney can be of tremendous service. Relying on the knowledge and experience of a skilled attorney often helps prevent delays and overcome any obstacles that arise when filing a workers' comp claim.