Where you hurt while working?
People injured in an accident while working will generally have a claim for worker’s compensation. What many don’t realize is that they may also have a personal injury claim. There are important differences between a personal injury claim and a worker’s compensation claim. One of those important differences provides an important benefit to an accident victim who presents a personal injury claim and could amount to thousands of dollars.
Differences Between Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury Law
Worker’s compensation laws arose over a century ago to provide a faster way to provide compensation to injured workers. Traditionally, the law did not distinguish between injuries at work and injuries from any other accident. Before legislatures enacted these laws, people injured at work could only receive compensation from their employer for those injuries if they showed their employer was negligent. Employers can try to escape responsibility by showing that the employee was also negligent. In some states, if the employee had any negligent, the employee couldn’t recover anything, not even for their medical bills.
Because of these harsh results and other reasons, legislatures passed laws that allowed an employee to recover against an employer for his or her work-related injury without having to show the employer’s negligence. To provide this new benefit to employees, however, legislatures required a trade-off. In exchange for not having to prove fault, legislatures prohibited employees from bringing personal injury lawsuits against the employers, with few exceptions. Nevada’s worker’s compensation statute, for example, makes worker’s compensation the “exclusive remedy” against an employer for on-the-job injuries. Another trade-off is the loss of the right to obtain compensation for pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life. So, under worker’s compensation laws, an employee can get compensated for medical bills and wage loss. However, the injured employee can’t get compensation for the pain and suffering he or she endured. Nevada’s worker’s compensation statutes can be found in Chapter 616A, 616B, 616C, and 616D of the Nevada Revised Statutes.
An employee may have both a worker’s compensation and personal injury claim, however, if the work-related accident was caused by someone other than an employer. That is, if an employee was in an accident while on the clock and the accident was caused by a third-person, the employee can make a worker’s compensation claim and also a claim for personal injuries against the person who caused the accident. The worker’s compensation claim will cover the medical bills and wage loss, while the personal injury claim will cover the pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life. Also, if the third party who caused the accident acted recklessly, intentionally, or with malice, the injured employee may have a claim for punitive damages.
Examples of Personal Injury Claims From On-The-Job Accidents
- A person running an errand for work gets into a car accident and is injured. That person will have both a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury claim. The car accident injury claim will be against the person who caused the accident and their insurance company. The experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates have recovered millions of dollars for accident victims in this situation.
Our client, a master painter, suffered a career-ending injury during a car accident in Las Vegas. While driving from one job site to another, his truck was rear-ended by an SUV. The at-fault driver’s insurance company gave our client a difficult time, because of a prior back injury. Nevertheless, shortly after filing suit, we were able to obtain about a million dollars in total settlement.
- A person is injured at work while using defective product, such as a ladder, electric saw, or even a washing machine.
A hotel employee’s was amputated while using a commercial washing machine at work. During their investigation, the accident lawyers at D.R. Patti & Associates discovered that the employer had hired an outside company to repair the washing machine on multiple occasions. The outside company failed to properly repair the machine, which allowed the employee to unknowingly disable the machine’s safety features. After suing both the repair company and the washing machine manufacturer, D.R. Patti & Associates was able to obtain a multi-million dollar settlement for our client’s product liability and personal injury claims.
- An employee, as part of their job, is visiting a construction site that is not owned by the employer and is injured due to the negligence of someone at the construction site.
- An employee is shopping on behalf of her employer and slips and falls at the store. The employee may have a premises liability claim.
In their combined 50+ years of experience, our accident attorneys have handled the simplest to the most complex accident cases. In that time, the Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at D.R. Patti & Associates have been able to obtain millions of dollars for work-related accident injuries caused by negligent third-parties. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident while on-the-job and want to know if you also have a personal injury claim, give us a call.