Can Collecting Workers Comp Benefits Stop Me from Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
When you suffer an injury at work, you probably have concerns about how you will be able to support yourself and your family while you recover from your wounds. Fortunately, Indiana requires the majority of employers to carry workers compensation insurance.
There are some cases, however, in which the benefits you receive from workers comp simply do not cover the total costs of the damages you’ve endured. There is a way to recover additional compensation: filing a personal injury claim. However, to do so, you’ll have to meet some very specific criteria.
Because a personal injury claim can allow workplace injury victims to recover the full extent of their losses, many people want to file one. But many also wonder whether collecting workers comp benefits can stop them from filing a personal injury claim. Read on for more information on that topic.
How Workers Comp Works
In Indiana, being injured at work entitles you to collect workers compensation benefits. It is a common misconception that you must have been employed with your company for a minimum amount of time or work a minimum amount of hours to qualify; from the moment you begin your first shift, you are covered under your employer’s workers compensation insurance.
These benefits are designed to cover your medical expenses and replace your income while you are unable to work and recovering. Generally, injury victims are able to collect between 65 and 85 percent of their pre-injury income while out of work. You’ll be able to receive your workers comp benefits until your physician clears you to return to work.
Why File a Personal Injury Claim?
Many people believe that they can only collect workers compensation benefits or file a personal injury claim. But it isn’t really one or the other. Filing a personal injury lawsuit for your work injury shouldn’t interfere with your work comp benefits, and collecting work comp benefits shouldn’t interfere with your personal injury lawsuit.
However, to file a personal injury lawsuit outside the work comp system, your case will have to satisfy one or more of the following criteria:
- Your employer illegally neglected to purchase work comp insurance, or the work comp insurance your employer purchased didn’t meet minimum coverage requirements.
- Your employer intentionally harmed you or acted with egregious negligence that caused you harm.
- An outside third party, such as a subcontractor at a construction site, caused your injuries (in which case you would sue the third party—not your employer).
Once we have established that you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, we will begin to calculate what your claim is worth. The remaining 15 to 40 percent of your lost income that you are not currently receiving in workers comp benefits can be recovered, as well as damages for your pain and suffering, loss of future earning potential, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
Our hope is that you are made whole for your losses so that, while you will still have to deal with the physical effects of your work injury, you are able to recover all of the expenses tied to the incident.
Meet with an Indianapolis Workers Comp Lawyer
For more information about collecting workers compensation benefits and moving forward with a personal injury claim against the liable party, reach out to a knowledgeable Indianapolis workers comp lawyer at Kooi Law today. You can schedule your free, no-obligation claim evaluation by filling out the contact form below or giving our office a call at (317) 569-1335.