When you suffer injury at a manufacturing job, whether through an accident, overuse, or repetitive motion, the workers’ compensation process can be complex. Although many manufacturing companies must carry workers’ compensation insurance, not everyone is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Manufacturing workplace injuries are typically covered under workers’ compensation, but certain employees, such as private contractors, are not. Following a workplace injury, non-eligible employees may consider filing personal injury claims. Manufacturing accidents are all too common. You can benefit from understanding the difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury lawsuits if you suffer a job injury.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Injured Workers in Manufacturing
Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage to assist employees who are injured on the job. Every state has different coverage requirements, but most offer the following benefits:
Workers’ compensation covers medical expenses related to your injury treatment and recovery. Costs may include your doctor’s appointments, emergency room visits, medication, assistive devices, and transportation to medical appointments. Any physical therapy or rehabilitation should be covered until you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Lost Income Recovery
A workplace injury in manufacturing can prevent you from returning to work until you are healed. Workers’ compensation pays a portion of your lost income during your recovery period until you return to work.
If you cannot go back to work due to impairment or disability from your workplace injury, you can apply for temporary or permanent disability.
Depending on the extent and severity of your impairment, you may receive temporary payments for lost income while you recover. If you cannot recover from your injuries, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits.
Vocational rehabilitation is available through some workers’ compensation or state programs. You may be eligible to recover costs for vocational training and education if your workplace injury prevents you from returning to your previous position or career.
Family members and dependents who lose a loved one to a manufacturing workplace injury may seek death benefits through workers’ compensation. Death benefits typically cover funeral and burial costs, medical expenses incurred by the worker prior to their demise, and lost income from the deceased worker.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits After a Manufacturing Workplace Injury
Some manufacturing workers are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Factors that can affect your eligibility include:
Whether Your Employer Carries Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Although many employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, not all employers must do so. Requirements for workers’ compensation coverage differ by state, so you benefit from speaking with a workers’ compensation lawyer to learn whether your employer should have coverage.
Whether You Are an Employee
If you are an independent contractor or third-party worker, you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Certain employee classifications are exempt from workers’ compensation requirements. If you are not sure whether you are covered, contact an employment attorney to discuss your workplace accident legal options.
Whether Your Injury is Work-Related
Workers’ compensation coverage applies to injuries that occur while performing your work duties. You could have trouble with the workers’ compensation claim if your manufacturing workplace injuries occurred while you were off the clock. For example, if you were in a car accident while on your lunch break, it may not be considered a work-related accident.
Personal Injury Claims for Manufacturing Workplace Injuries
If you were injured on the job but cannot pursue a workers’ compensation claim, you may still secure compensation for your injuries through a third-party personal injury claim. An employment attorney who handles both workers’ compensation and employment law cases can help you understand whether a personal injury claim is an option.
In most cases, you cannot sue your employer for injuries eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. However, if your injury was due to a third party’s negligence, or you do not qualify for workers’ comp, a personal injury lawsuit may be in your best interests.
You may also be eligible to file a lawsuit against your employer if you are wrongfully terminated or your employer fails to make reasonable accommodations for your injury.
The workers’ compensation process is different from a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim may include financial compensation for additional non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation claims, on the other hand, typically limit financial recovery to lost income, medical expenses, disability, death benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.
Contact an Attorney to Discuss Your Workplace Accident Legal Options
If you or a loved one suffered manufacturing workplace injuries, a personal injury attorney with KJT Law Group can help you navigate the workers’ compensation process or file a personal injury claim. Our team has extensive experience handling both workers’ comp and personal injury cases against manufacturing companies and responsible third parties.
Reach out to our office today or call (818) 507-8525 to discuss workers’ compensation vs. personal injury lawsuits. During your free consultation, we can explain what manufacturing workers need to know about workplace injury claims and discuss your next steps.