Industrial accidents are those that involve hazardous materials and can have serious consequences for not only those directly involved but also others who were just in the surrounding area. Oil rig accidents, crushing between equipment accidents, and exposure to toxic materials are just some of the most common types of industrial accidents. By their very nature, industrial accidents most commonly happen in the workplace.
Due to the fact that industrial accidents happen to employees, it can be difficult to determine whether to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim for compensation afterward. Below, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer explains further.
What is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In the majority of workplace accidents, the only remedy employees have is to file a workers’ compensation claim. Through a successful workers’ compensation claim, employees can recover all of their reasonable medical expenses and a portion of their lost income.
In order to claim workers’ compensation, you must have been on the job at the time and performing duties within the scope of your employment. For example, if you became injured because you were involved in a physical altercation with another worker, you would not be eligible for benefits. A physical altercation is not within the duties of your employment. Workers’ compensation can step in if you were performing duties within the scope of your employment and provide for some of an employee’s losses. Still, there are certain limitations associated with the system.
As of September 1, 2023, the maximum compensation a person can claim for lost wages is $816.00. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, it does not matter who was at fault for the injury or how badly one was injured. These are both beneficial and harmful to employees. Due to the no-fault system, workers can still file a claim even if they caused or contributed to the accident. Workers’ compensation also removes the need for a trial, meaning that employees can obtain the relief they need fairly quickly. However, employees who suffer a serious, life-changing injury will find these limitations negatively impact their case.
The cost of a catastrophic injury such as paralysis, amputation, or a third-degree burn can remain with accident victims for the rest of their lives. These injuries are sadly quite common in industrial accident cases. One or two years of replacement wages will not make up for the loss of your career. Even months of medical treatment may not fully heal brain function, nerve endings, and entire limbs. For these reasons, workers’ compensation is often not enough for employees.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a civil remedy that allows injured individuals to file a claim against negligent, or careless, parties when they cause an accident that results in injury. When filing a personal injury claim, you must prove that another person acted negligently and that they are liable for paying compensation.
Personal injury claims offer many benefits over the workers’ compensation system. One of the biggest of these is that a personal injury claim can help accident victims claim much more in compensation. You can file a claim for your current and future medical expenses, all of your lost income, and even a loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to the same line of work in the future. Additionally, you can also file a claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent disability. Non-economic damages are not available in workers’ compensation claims.
In most cases, you can only file a personal injury claim after an industrial accident if a third party caused your injuries. Third parties are individuals who do not have a relationship with your employer. For example, if you were using a piece of defective equipment and became injured on the job, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the equipment. However, in very limited cases, you may be able to sue your employer.
When Can You Sue Your Employer in Baton Rouge?
In Baton Rouge, as throughout the rest of Louisiana, the vast majority of employers are required to purchase and carry workers’ compensation insurance. This means that, in most instances, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. After an industrial accident, the only option most injured employees have is to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Still, there are times when you may be able to sue your employer. To do this, you must prove that your employer was negligent and caused your accident. Ordinary negligence is not enough in these cases, though. You must show that your employer was erroneously negligent or that they intentionally caused your accident. For example, if your employer violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, you may have a right to sue your employer. Or, if your employer did not provide proper training and you were injured as a result, this may also give you grounds to file a lawsuit.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against anyone can quickly become complex, and winning these cases is not easy. When you want to file a lawsuit against your employer, the matter becomes even more complicated. It is always recommended that you speak to a personal injury lawyer any time you believe you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Call Our Personal Injury Lawyer in Baton Rouge for a Free Consultation
Industrial accidents are some of the most serious, and those involved in them will likely suffer catastrophic injuries. It is also never easy to determine which type of claim to file or to receive the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. At Big River Trial Attorneys, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer can help you determine which remedy is most appropriate for your situation and obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call us now at (225) 963-9638 or fill out our online form to schedule a free review of your case and to get more information.