Here at The Mottley Law Firm, we often receive calls and inquiries from individuals who have been injured on the job and who would like to learn about their legal rights.
Unfortunately, the workplace is one of the most common places where injuries occur. Injuries in the workplace can range in severity from a sprained ankle to a serious, catastrophic injury like a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury. Of course, in the most tragic of cases, death can result from workplace injuries and accidents.
Personal Injuries Suffered By Employees
Most workplace injury situations are handled exclusively within the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission system by an attorney experienced with Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act. In the early part of the 20th Century, state legislatures in the United States enacted workers’ compensation laws to help compensate workers injured on the job. These laws created an obligation on the part of employers to compensate injured workers and to buy workers’ compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries. This system – which is our modern-day workers’ compensation system – is a trade-off. Workers who are injured do not have to prove that they were injured by anyone’s negligence to receive compensation from their employer (i.e., they do not have to prove that their employer was “at fault” in causing the injury). In exchange for this, employers, who must pay compensation to injured workers without respect to who was “at fault,” do not have to worry about being sued for personal injuries suffered by their employees. That is because of the workers’ compensation laws “bar” employees from suing their employers in court for workplace injuries.
Personal Injury Claim vs. Workers' Compensation Claims
In some situations, however, an injury that occurs on the job may also involve the negligence of someone who is not the injured person’s employer. For example, if you are a truck driver who becomes injured when another motorist on the highway causes you to have an accident, then you may have a personal injury claim against the other motorist who injured you. You would also have a workers’ compensation claim against your employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company. These claims, which are referred to as third-party liability claims in workers’ compensation, may be filed in court just like any other personal injury claim. However, to the extent the employer has paid for the injured employee’s medical expenses and lost time from work, the employer may have a lien against the personal injury settlement for that money. Notwithstanding the employer’s lien rights, it is often worth it for the worker to explore the possibility of a third-party liability claim. Doing so often results in more compensation – sometimes substantially more compensation – being paid to the injured employee as a result of an accident.
Personal Injury Attorney for Injured Workers in Richmond, VA
If you or a loved one have been injured on the job, you need to receive legal advice about your rights to compensation. Here at The Mottley Law Firm, we have handled many third-party liability claims involving an injured worker who also has a workers’ compensation claim. Please give us a call to learn more information.