Being involved in a workplace accident can be an unnerving experience, especially if the accident leaves the worker with injuries that require medical attention and prohibit the worker from returning to work immediately. Fortunately, most workers in Colorado are covered by workers' compensation insurance.
Workers' compensation coverage is designed to pay for a worker's medical expenses and lost wages when they are injured on the job. However, the system can be difficult to navigate, and in addition to pursuing workers' compensation benefits, injured workers often wonder whether or not other legal remedies are available to them.
Workers' Compensation and Employer Liability - What You Need to Know
By virtue of the workers' compensation system in Colorado, which provides no-fault benefits to workers injured while performing workplace duties, workers are barred from filing a lawsuit directly against their employer.
However, the state of Colorado does allow for some exceptions to employer immunity in cases involving workplace injuries. For example, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer in the event that your employer engaged in particularly egregious conduct. For example, if your lawyer intentionally caused you harm, an exceptionally dangerous workplace condition existed that your employer knew of yet failed to remedy, etc., you may be able to file a suit against your employer.
Third-Party Liability Claims
Even though you are barred from filing a lawsuit against your employer in most cases, you may file a third-party liability claim against an outside party (not your employer) who was to blame for your injuries. For example, if your injury was caused by a defective piece of machinery, the manufacturer of said machinery may be held liable for any damages you've suffered.
The Benefits of a Lawsuit vs. a Workers' Compensation Claim and Visa Versa
Our clients often ask us: Which is more advantageous to pursue, a workers' compensation claim or a third-party liability claim?
The answer is ambiguous, as what is the right course of action for you is dependent upon the circumstances of your case. Workers' compensation claims are beneficial because they do not require the injured worker to prove fault. However, the biggest limitation of this claim type is that a worker is not compensated for the full value of their lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering are not available. A third-party liability claim, on the other hand, does allow for the recovery of the full extent of one's economic and non-economic losses, but also requires that the plaintiff prove duty, breach of duty, causation, and negligence.
Our Colorado Workplace Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you've been harmed in the workplace, you should seek medical care and inform your employer of the injury immediately. Your next step should be to call our Colorado workplace injury lawyer for a free consultation. At the law offices of Anderson Hemmat, we will review your case and provide you with the sound legal advice you need to make an informed decision. Reach us today at (303) 782-9999.