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Can I Sue My Employer for a Work Injury?

When you’re seriously injured in a car accident or trip on a loose floorboard in a local business, the path to compensation for your injuries typically involves a personal injury lawsuit. Pursuing compensation for a work injury is different. Nearly all work injury claims fall under Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, rather than general personal injury law. The workers’ compensation system is a unique and complex system that can be difficult to navigate without the help of an experienced attorney.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

The Ohio workers’ compensation system was designed to ensure that injured workers have access to medical care and other compensation after a work injury. When workers’ compensation functions properly, it has benefits for both the worker and the employer. For example:

  • The injured worker has faster and easier access to medical care and other benefits;
  • Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, the injured worker does not have to prove negligence to recover benefits;
  • The mandate that the employer carry workers’ compensation insurance ensures that there are funds available to compensate the worker in the event of an injury;
  • The employer is insulated from absorbing the full cost of the injury by worker’s compensation insurance;
  • There is no personal injury litigation to sour the relationship between employee and employer

In the vast majority of cases, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy for the injured worker. That means that, except under very limited circumstances, the employee cannot file a personal injury case against his or her employer for a work injury.

How is Workers’ Compensation Different from a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

An individual who suffers an injury as a result of a serious car accident or medical mistake may not be able to resolve the claim directly with the at fault party’s insurance carrier.  In that case, the next step would typically be to file a personal injury lawsuit.  To win a personal injury lawsuit, an injured party would have to prove that the defendant was negligent and that he or she were injured because of that negligence.  Simply proving that an injury occurred is not enough.

If an injured party can establish that the defendant was negligent, a wide range of possible compensation may be available.  But, the injured party will have to prove each harm suffered and its monetary value.  The personal injury case may take months, or even years to resolve.  During that time, the injured party may receive little to no compensation.

However, if the injured party suffers an injury at work then Ohio workers’ compensation law applies. That means no personal injury lawsuit and no need to prove negligence. The process is streamlined, and there are deadlines within which the employer or the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation must make a decision.

Why Hire a Workers Compensation Lawyer?

The workers’ compensation process is extremely complex.  Some of the problems you may encounter in a workers’ compensation case include:

  • Denial of your claim
  • A delay in payment of benefits
  • Undervaluing your claim
  • Failure to respond appropriately to work limitations

While you could wait until problems arise to connect with an experienced workers compensation attorney, correcting a problem is often more difficult and time consuming than avoiding the problem. When you work with one of our attorneys to pursue a work injury claim, we will thoroughly assess and prepare your claim to minimize the chances of denial or delay. And, if problems do arise, we will have the evidence, experts, and legal analysis in hand to promptly and effectively fight back.

If you’re recovering from a work injury, the last thing you need is the added stress and complication of trying to educate yourself about the workers’ compensation process and advocate for yourself. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how Dworken & Bernstein can help you.

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