What Is the Difference Between Workers Comp and Employer’s Liability?
Posted in Workplace Accidents on November 25, 2020
A workplace injury can severely disrupt your life. An accident can impact your ability to go to work and earn a living, increase your medical expenses, and cause severe physical and emotional pain. To recover from these losses, you may wonder if you should pursue a workers’ compensation claim or file a lawsuit against your employer. The optimal legal pathway depends on the circumstances surrounding your case.
Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that employers use to protect an employee after he or she suffers an injury on the job. Typically, workers’ compensation insurance provides funds for lost wages during the recovery period as well as payment for medical expenses.
In exchange for receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you relinquish your right to file a lawsuit over the accident. You can file a workers’ comp claim regardless of fault or negligence, even if you were responsible for the accident. You only need to prove that you suffered the injury while performing your job duties.
In Missouri, all businesses that have at least five employees or a construction business with at least one employee must carry workers’ compensation insurance. The Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation oversees the program, and you may be eligible for the following benefits after a successful claim.
- Compensation for your medical treatment and medical travel expenses, if you have to leave the local area to receive care
- Death benefits for a surviving spouse and children in the form of burial expenses and wage reimbursement, if applicable
- Disability benefits based on the severity of your injury
When Can You File a Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury?
Employer’s liability is a form of insurance that employers can purchase to protect themselves in case an employee files a lawsuit. In some cases, filing a workers’ compensation claim will not secure sufficient compensation after an injury. You may want to file a lawsuit against your employer if his or her negligence caused your accident and if you suffered severe damages that a workers’ comp claim may not cover.
To prove an employer’s negligence, you will need to establish four elements.
- Your employer owed you a duty of care.
- Your employer breached his or her duty of care.
- You suffered injuries due to the breach.
- You suffered damages due to your injuries that you can collect compensation for.
For example, say that you accidentally slipped and fell from some scaffolding while performing your job. If the accident occurred without any evidence of negligence, you may want to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, if you discover your employer failed to secure the scaffolding in accordance with industry requirements, you may be eligible for a lawsuit.
Alternatively, you can file a claim against a third-party if an external factor is the cause of your injury, such as a car accident or working with defective machinery. For example, if you are making a delivery for your job and another driver crashes into your vehicle, you can hold him or her accountable through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
It can be difficult to know what to do after suffering an injury on the job. Your first priority should be your health and safety. Report the accident to your employer immediately and seek medical attention. Your employer may require you to visit a specific doctor for your treatment. Inform your doctor that you experienced a workplace injury and save all records from your visit.
After seeking treatment, provide a written notice of your injury to your employer and speak to a Kansas City personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will help you understand whether you should pursue a workers’ comp claim or if a lawsuit is more appropriate for your situation.