The workplace should be a location where people make money within a safe environment. Sadly we live in an imperfect world, and sometimes accidents happen. They can range from a slip or fall to a full medical injury. The ultimate scenario is where someone loses their life.
If someone has just received an injury at their workplace, they may be feeling dazed and unsure what to do next. One thing that will almost certainly occur is that financial compensation will be sought. Let’s take a closer look at that right now.
There may or may not be a Compensation System in Place
Accidents at the workplace are far from unusual. Imagine a place where over thirty million injuries are reported in a year – and that’s America alone! The compensation paid adds up to nearly $700 billion, which averages out to $24,000 per claimant. When it comes to people injured at work, some employers subscribe to the workers’ compensation system. This provides medical and financial benefits for the victim.
This only provides for ‘reasonable’ medical care and a portion of the person’s wages earned before the incident. No blame can be levelled at the worker or employer, and personal injury claims cannot be submitted.
Where no such system is in place, however, workers can take out a personal injury claim. This would ideally occur with the help of a lawyer.
Personal Injury Lawyers Know About Compensation
Employees should seek the most suitable legal help. This will maximize their chances of gaining compensation. Consultations are often free, and many lawyers have a ‘no win no fee’ policy. If a lawyer has experience of similar workplace injuries and has a good success track record, they may be ideal.
Attorneys will be best placed to say how much compensation should be sought, and what the chances are of obtaining it.
Compensation Can Cover Many Factors
The payout can cover the person’s loss of earnings while they were not working. If they have been forced to take a lower paid job due to health issues, money will be sought to cover future losses too.
Medical expenses also fall into the compensation pot. This could include not just the initial treatment, but any future costs as well. If a home has to be modified this can be claimed for. Compensation could be sought to pay for safety handles, walk in showers, stairlifts or wheelchair ramps. Ongoing health care expenses may also be relevant.
The emotional side of injury claims are taken very seriously at court. Medical photos displaying the physical damage sustained will support the case from a physical and traumatic angle.
Settlement Figures Need Wisdom
As we have said, the attorney will use their experience to identify a realistic compensation figure to seek in court. Employers may be wishing to avoid featuring in the papers if the case goes that far. They may also want early closure, so they can save on legal fees. The settlement figure offered may be less than the amount recommended by the lawyer, however. The attorney’s advice will be invaluable here: should it be accepted or rejected? If it is too low the attorney may well advise that the offer be declined.
Compensation figures can also be increased as the claim progresses. This is because not all medical symptoms are diagnosed straight after a workplace accident. Secondary conditions may take time to appear. Someone who was initially deemed ready to return to the workplace may now be off for a longer amount of time, if not forever. This can have a significant impact upon the eventual payout.
Compensation figures offered before a case gets to court are known as Part 36 Offers. There is an area of gambling here. If someone turned down $35,000 but was eventually granted only $25,000 when it went to court, they would have to pay the legal fees the other party had incurred since that previous offer was made. Lawyers can advise on this, and if the amounts are close enough they may play it safe and recommend accepting the offer.
Lawyers Look to Prove Negligence or Malpractice
This is the basis on which the compensation claim stands or falls. Attorneys want to be able to stand up in court and say this employer had a responsibility for the safety of their employee. They need to prove this was not fulfilled correctly, and that this was the reason the person became hurt.
It’s clear to see that it can be a complex matter, but lawyers help people get through the experience, and fight for a just payout at the end. Finances can be sorted and hopefully health will be restored. The person may even be able to return to the workplace, which should be the long-term goal.