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Difference Between State and Federal Workers’ Compensation

The Difference Between State and Federal Workers’ Compensation

The main difference between state and federal workers’ compensation is who is covered under each program. Federal workers’ compensation covers all civilian employees of the United States government. This means that military personnel does not qualify for federal workers’ compensation. State workers’ compensation will cover all other employees who are injured at work.

If you are concerned about your workers compensation claim or have any questions about key differences between state and federal workers’ compensation, an attorney at KJT Law Group can help you. They can review your case, speak with necessary parties, and represent you as you seek the benefits you are entitled to recover.

Who Provides Federal Workers’ Compensation?

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor offers federal workers’ compensation. This means that this program, rather than your direct employer, will pay for your losses.

Federal workers’ compensation differs from states’, where your employer and their insurance company are the ones responsible for paying out your benefits. Additionally, whereas benefits can vary from state to state, federal workers’ compensation is uniform. No matter what state you live in, you will receive the same benefits if you are a federal employee.

What Are Federal Workers Compensated For?

The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) protects federal employees and their families in the event that a federal employee is injured or dies on the job. The benefits they can recover through federal workers’ compensation are generally the same as employees working non-government jobs. These benefits typically include:

  • Wage replacement
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation services

How severe your injury is and how long you will need to be out of work will determine the amount you are able to obtain. Additionally, your salary will establish the amount that you can obtain in relation to wage replacement.

You will notice that items missing from these benefits include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation will not cover those types of benefits. To obtain them, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, federal employees cannot sue the federal government.

45 Days of Pay

In the event that you are temporarily totally disabled and unable to work, you will be able to receive your regular pay for 45 calendar days, per the National Insititute of Health (NIH). This is generally not the case with state workers’ compensation programs, and it is a great benefit for federal employees.Unfortunately, if your disability lasts longer than 45 days, you will no longer be able to recover benefits as if you had never missed work. Federal employees will see their pay reduced after this time period to a percentage of their actual salary, just as with state programs, and they will be required to use their sick leave.


Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Third Party

Because federal employees cannot sue the federal government, you may wonder how you can recover compensation for items workers’ compensation doesn’t cover.

It is important to stress that if you are a federal employee, you cannot sue the federal government even if they are blatantly negligent. While workers’ compensation programs aim to protect employers from being taken advantage of, employees part of state programs can sue their employer if they are blatantly negligent in some cases.

The only way for a federal employee to recover additional damages is by filing a lawsuit against a third party.

When to File a Lawsuit Against a Third Party

Just because you believe that you should be able to recover more in benefits than you have received does not mean that you will always have the option of suing a third party. To have a chance of recovering compensation, a third party must be responsible for your injury while you were working, and they also cannot be part of the federal government.For example, if you are driving a vehicle at work and you are hit by another car and all of your injuries result from the accident, you can bring a lawsuit against that party to recover damages. You must comply with certain time limits, though. According to CCP § 335.1, most claimants have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Failure to file by the deadline may result in the court denying your right to sue.

If no third party was involved in your accident, you cannot file a lawsuit.

Workers’ Compensation Lien

Keep in mind that if your lawsuit is successful, you could recover damages up to and beyond what the federal government provided you. When you receive these awards from a third party, the federal government has the right to recoup the benefits they have already administered.

This action prevents the government from paying for something that was not its fault. In the process, it also keeps you from recovering the same benefits twice.

Learn More About the Difference Between State and Federal Workers’ Comp

Workers’ compensation law can be difficult to navigate. When you took your job, you may not have realized that there were numerous differences between federal and state programs, and now that you are injured, you may be wondering how you are going to recover fair benefits. Rather than try to figure out everything on your own, trust a workers’ compensation lawyer on our team to help you navigate the process.

At KJT Law Group, we can help you understand the key differences between federal and state workers’ compensation, as well as the best way to obtain the most compensation you can. We can represent you should you need to take out a lawsuit against a third party, and we can assist you should the government put a lien on your benefits. Contact us at (818) 507-8525 for a free consultation.

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