It is crucial to speak to a workplace injury lawyer if you have been hurt on the job. You may have multiple options for obtaining compensation, but it can be difficult to know what claim or claims you have until you consult an attorney.
Nearly all employers in West Virginia are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is designed to take care of workers when they are injured on the job. In some situations, workers may also be able to recover compensation through a workplace injury lawsuit against a third party whose negligence led to their injuries.
Colombo Law can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. For a FREE case review with a workplace injury lawyer, call 304-599-4229 today.
What Compensation Is Available for a Workplace Injury?
In West Virginia, there are a variety of workers’ compensation benefits available. What you qualify for depends on the severity of your injury, but could include:
- Coverage of medical expenses
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
In the case of a worker’s death, the surviving family may also qualify for death benefits.
Do I Have a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you are injured on the job, regardless of whether or not it was your fault, you probably have a viable workers’ compensation claim. Keep in mind that you must have been injured while engaged in activities related to your employment to qualify.
If, for example, you are in an accident while on your lunch break or when driving to work in the morning, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you were driving because your boss asked you to make a delivery while heading to work or while on your lunch break, then your driving would be considered work-related and you may be able to receive benefits if you are injured in an accident.
The same goes for if you are suffering from a repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or if you are dealing with health issues due to long-term exposure to vapors or chemicals (often referred to as “occupational diseases”).
How Do I File for Workers’ Compensation?
Generally speaking, when you notify your employer of a workplace injury, they will file the appropriate paperwork with the workers’ compensation insurer. You just need to make sure you inform your employer within 30 days of the work-related injury, after which you should receive notification of the acceptance or denial of your claim within 30 days.
However, if your employer fails to file a claim or you do not receive a notification, you may need to file a claim on your own. Workers in West Virginia have only 6 months to do this (West Virginia Code §23-4-15). A workplace injury lawyer can provide vital assistance with the process.
Can I File a Workplace Injury Lawsuit?
While workers’ comp benefits can be instrumental in covering the losses caused by a workplace injury, they may not compensate you for everything. It is important to assess the potential liability of third parties.
As a rule, workers cannot sue their employer for on-the-job injuries. However, if it can be established that the negligence of a third party caused you harm, you can take legal action. For example, if someone other than your employer or a coworker injures you while you are on the job, you may be able to pursue compensation against that other party.
These claims fall outside of the workers’ compensation system. As such, you can pursue compensation for damages not covered by workers’ comp, including pain and suffering, the cost of future medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Who Can I Sue?
Third-party liability is a complex issue in work injury cases. Potential defendants in these claims include:
- The negligent driver of a motor vehicle
- The owner of the premises where you are working
- A contractor or subcontractor at your workplace
- The manufacturer of a defective product you used in the course of your job
Suffering an injury while on the job often leads to difficult, uncertain situations for injured workers. Knowing your legal rights can be especially difficult. An experienced lawyer can investigate, determine if you are entitled to workers’ comp and any additional damages, and seek a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer Today
While the workers’ compensation system in West Virginia is an important protection for injured workers, it does not always function as it should. Sometimes claims are wrongfully denied. Sometimes benefits do not come close to covering the full amount of damages suffered by an injured worker. Sometimes employers attempt to avoid the system altogether and place their workers in dangerous situations.
At Colombo Law, we are here to help when the system does not. We are passionate, reliable advocates for injured West Virginians who have suffered a workplace injury and are struggling to move forward.
If this describes your situation, please contact Colombo Law as soon as possible for a FREE case review. Our workplace injury lawyers serve clients in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia.