After being hurt on-the-job or made sick because of your work, you need to understand your legal rights. If your employer has purchased workers’ compensation insurance, you may have just one option to recover any compensation or benefits from your employer for work injury losses: workers’ compensation.

If your employer has workers’ compensation coverage, you have to claim workers’ compensation benefits to get your medical bills paid and to recover disability income.  An experienced Houston work injury lawyer at Abbott and Associates, L.L.C. can help you to make your claim. If you have not claimed workers’ compensation benefits or want to explore other options for receiving compensation, an attorney can also assist you with exploring any other options that may be available to you.

When Do You Have to Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy system, which means you have to claim workers’ compensation benefits after an illness or an injury at work if you want to receive money for injury losses. You are not allowed to sue your employer. If you do not notify your employer of your injury within 30 days of the time it occurs, then you may be time barred from making a claim. You might not receive any money from your employer for medical costs. If you are disabled and not able to return back to your job, you may have no money coming in.

There may be some limited situations in which you can file a personal injury or a wrongful death lawsuit. However, this type of lawsuit cannot be filed against an employer.  It can only be filed against a third party who was wholly or partly responsible for a work injury. This could include a manufacturer of equipment if you are hurt by problems with tools or machinery. If your accident occurs while you are driving somewhere for work, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the other driver who was responsible for causing the collision.

If a non-employer project manager, an engineer or an architect working on the project was negligent or careless in some way, then you may be able to file a claim against that person.   This would be separate from a workers’ compensation claim and you could file this type of third party lawsuit even if you do not claim workers’ compensation benefits.

Filing a lawsuit can allow you to obtain more compensation than you would simply by reporting a work injury and making a workers’ compensation claim.  For example, you can recover compensation for pain and suffering- which you cannot recover from workers’ compensation. However, in order to be able to obtain these broader damages, you must prove the defendant was negligent and responsible for causing you harm. This can be more difficult than simply making a work injury claim.

Workers’ compensation coverage is very broad to ensure that those who are hurt on-the-job get benefits. While you do not have to claim workers’ compensation benefits, you could lose out and be left with financial trouble if you don’t. Contact a Houston, TX workers’ compensation lawyer at Abbott and Associates, L.L.C. for help with your case.

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