If you have suffered a serious injury, you will likely face a number of hardships, including physical, emotional, and financial trauma. The good news? You may have legal rights that allow you to pursue compensation for the many hardships you face. Some people only consider one source of compensation, but this can be a mistake. Depending upon the cause and severity of your injury, you may be eligible for financial benefits from three different sources.
Did your injury happen at work?
Anyone injured on the job is generally eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp provides compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Temporary or permanent disability
Obtaining fair workers’ compensation benefits can be a difficult process. Employers (and their insurance providers) deny claims for a variety of reasons. They may claim your injury occurred after work hours or that it happened long before you started working for your current employer. Remember, you have important legal rights and the chance to tell your story. Even if your initial claim is denied, you may prevail during the appeals process.
Was your injury caused by negligence?
If you were injured by the careless or negligent actions of a person or business, you deserve a different kind of compensation that falls under personal injury law. Personal injury claims include:
- Motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, and other careless behavior
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Nursing home negligence
A personal injury claim allows for potentially much greater compensation than a workers’ comp claim because personal injury law compensates injured people for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
How has this injury changed your life?
To maximize your compensation in a personal injury claim, you must assess the many ways the injury has changed your life and will impact you in the future. You may require extensive medical treatment, adapted living arrangements, and expensive medication. You may be unable to work and engage in activities you once enjoyed. A personal injury claim must take all of these factors into account so that you can obtain full and fair compensation for the losses you have suffered.
Third-party work injury claims
In some situations, people injured on the job may receive both workers’ compensation and personal injury compensation. This happens when the injury was the result of negligence on the part of a third party (not the injured person’s employer or someone he or she works with.) Third-party claims come in many forms. A few common examples include:
- A truck driver getting injured by a careless motorist
- A construction worker injured in a scaffolding collapse that was caused by a third party contractor
- A factory worker injured in an explosion caused by defective equipment
The key element in all of these situations is that the person was both working and injured by a negligent third party. Both factors must apply if you want to pursue a third-party liability claim.
For an injured worker struggling with medical bills, wage loss, and other hardships, a third-party claim offers the opportunity to obtain compensation that goes above and beyond what is available from a workers’ comp claim.
Has your injury left you disabled?
Some injuries cause long-lasting disability that prevents the injured person from working at all. If you are in such a situation, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. You must meet a number of requirements to receive these benefits, including:
- Your condition must have lasted at least 12 months or be expected to last at least 12 months or be expected to result in death.
- You must have worked enough years to have adequately paid into the system. If you lack in this requirement, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- You must suffer from a qualifying medical condition.
Many different conditions apply, from physical ailments like cancer and heart disease to mental health impairments such as bipolar disorder and PTSD. If you have applied for SSDI benefits and been denied, do not lose heart. Most initial applications are denied. Your best chance to obtain disability benefits is during the appeals process.
Looking at the whole picture
A serious injury is difficult enough without having to research the different kinds of compensation that may be available to you. You may have questions about whether you qualify for one, two, or even three of these potential sources of compensation. By getting in touch with a law firm that handles all three types of claims, you can simplify the process and get all of the information and help you need under one roof.