Claims arising out of work-related injuries are a result of the long accepted principle that employers should always provide their employees with a safe and healthy environment that’s conducive for work and promotes their well-being. In fact, this is required by all state laws.
Therefore, if a worker gets injured while on duty, their employer was not doing his job very well. This applies especially when the work is hazardous by nature, and the cause of the injury was solely due to employer’s instructions.
In case of a work-related injury, it’s usually expected that the employee report the injury immediately. This is to give the employer the chance to immediately address the injury as well as settle compensation outside of court, which can be more convenient for the injured worker as well. In fact, it’s important to report such injury within a specified period.
Any reputable Sacramento personal injury attorney may also suggest that you be familiar with workers’ legal rights. These include:
- Right to see a doctor or go to some other medical facility for treatment.
- Right to reinstatement after being released from work after the injury
- Right to permanent disability compensation as provided for by law
- Right to disagree with management decisions on the claim
- Right to sue before the court as well as to appeal such a decision
- Right to be represented by a lawyer throughout the case
- Right to refuse any attempt to convince you to pay out of your own pocket for treatment.
There are, however, certain instances where the party at fault is not the employer but some third party, such as co-workers. With construction site injuries, a third party involved in the construction process may be considered at-fault. In this case, you will have to file a civil suit against the worker or entity at-fault. Some states, however, will hold the employer liable for actions of his or her employees.
Filing an insurance claim isn’t just about submitting a demand letter to your insurer asking them to indemnify you for your losses. There is what most people call a negotiation process, which usually involves a couple of phone calls and discussions between you and the company.
After initiating the claim, you will start dealing with the adjuster – the representative of the insurance company who will be assisting you in assessing the claim. What happens is that you will usually “haggle” with the adjuster who will offer a lower value than what you claimed, while you make counter offers.
When this happens, you need to make sure you’re prepared. Pfefier, Morgan & Stesiak suggests that you come to the table with a settlement value in mind. Consider this as the bottom line. That is, you won’t go for anything less than that amount. Without this minimum, you might end up being persuaded to get an amount too low to cover your losses. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never budge. Your adjuster might have good reasons why you should settle for a lower value, so be ready for those exceptions as well.
The next point, therefore, is to always ask for a justification on a lower offer. Don’t just say yes to a low offer because it falls above your minimum – ask the adjuster why the value has to be lowered. This is a really good way to determine how reasonable the offers are.
Finally, don’t give in to the first offer. Chances are, the adjuster is giving you an amount lower than the maximum they are willing to agree to. Negotiation will help you push that value up a bit. Take note of this especially when the first offer seems reasonable or even higher than expected. Just because the offer is high doesn’t mean that’s all you deserve.
When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit, the word “damages” come to mind. And to most people, this word means monetary compensation. Not all personal injury cases are equal, though. Some people receive more money in damages than others, while some are not awarded any at all. Each one is dealt with on a case to case basis.
The law, however, classifies damages into many sub categories. Sometimes an injured party gets several types of damages while others don’t.
The first, and perhaps most common and broadest type of damages, are compensatory damages. As the name suggests, it’s paid by the negligent party as reimbursement for whatever costs that have been paid or are needed to be paid to repair for any losses on the part of the claimant. In a personal injury case, this usually includes the following:
- Medical expenses (i.e. hospitalization, medication, etc.) for anything related to the injury.
- Property damages, may be awarded for home, vehicle, etc.
- Loss of income, which is based on any amount an injured worker would have earned were it not for the injury. The injury doesn’t have to be work-related.
There is also such a thing as moral damages. It’s not intended as a form of actual compensation but rather as means to help alleviate pain and suffering or mental anguish the victim suffered. This includes moral suffering like embarrassment, sleepless nights, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Finally, there are punitive damages, which are awarded more as a form of punishment for the defendant’s negligence. Its purpose is to teach the defendant a lesson to be more careful next time.
These, of course, are granted on the basis of evidence as presented by the attending South Bend personal injury lawyers. It is important to note that some states have caps on punitive damages, which can make the worth of a personal injury case vary.