A typical situation we come across is an injured employee coming to see us and says the following, “I got hurt on the job but I’m afraid to file for workers’ comp. I’ve worked for my boss more than 10 years now. He’s a good guy, a friend even. I don’t want to file a lawsuit against him or his company, but I’m hurting real bad. What should I do?”
Is your employer affected?
Workers’ compensation is a maze of laws, ever-changing and often misunderstood. As implied in the situation above, most injured employees are under the impression that by filing for garden-variety workers’ compensation benefits, they are then filing a lawsuit against their employer, who may be friends or family.
I want to make sure employees and employers understand there is no lawsuit per se. Rather, filing for workers’ compensation benefits is no different than filing a claim with your own personal insurance. Hence, the employee is simply filing a claim for benefits with the employer’s mandated workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Now, there are situations that may call for a claim against the employer directly, but that comes into play only when the employee was injured due to the employer’s serious and willful conduct – a law that carries a high standard and the burden of proof is on the injured employee. However, in most cases, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier handles the allocation of all benefits rightfully owed to an injured employee and thereby leaving the employer out of the picture.
Thus, this idea of an employee vs. employer showdown, framed as a lawsuit, is incorrect and employers should dismiss this notion among its employees, as it only benefits everyone to get the injured employees proper medical care, healthy again and returned to the workforce.
To find out more about workers’ compensation benefits, contact us at (661) 324-5911. We offer a free consultation and we don’t get paid unless you receive benefits. NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.