More than 2.8 million workplace injuries happen to American employees working for private companies every year. Some of these injuries occur because of a co-worker’s negligence or error, and some are intentional. If a co-worker has injured you, there are typically two ways to receive compensation for your injuries: workers’ compensation or a civil lawsuit.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
Oklahoma employees who are injured at work have a right to collect workers’ compensation benefits. As a “no-fault” system, a co-worker’s negligence or error is not a factor in your ability to receive benefits for medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and a portion of your lost wages. However, worker’s comp does not cover pain and suffering.
Your first step is to give either oral or written notice of your injuries to your employer. However, it’s in your best interest to provide the notice in writing to ensure it is documented. This way, your employer cannot claim that they were never notified of your injuries.
Some employers require injured workers to fill out injury report forms. These forms are not required by law but may be used internally to keep track of accidents and injuries.
Don’t rely on someone else to notify your employer on your behalf; doing so does not qualify as notifying your employer. You must report your work-related injuries to your supervisor within 30 days from the date the injury was sustained. If you miss this deadline, you could lose the right to workers’ compensation benefits. For this reason, it’s best to notify your employer as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose the opportunity to recover benefits.
injuries that occur during meal breaks or in a parking lot outside of the employer’s building are typically not covered. The insurance company will contend that injuries like these are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits because they were not the result of employment-related activities. The insurance company may also deny your claim if you were hurt while engaging in other activities that are considered to be exclusions from workers’ compensation, including commuting, participating in recreational activities, intoxication, or fighting.
Third-Party Lawsuit Against Co-Worker
Workers’ compensation benefits are often not enough for people who are seriously injured or face a permanent disability. While workers’ comp benefits pay for your medical bills, it will only cover a portion of your lost wages and you will not be compensated for your pain and suffering. While you will not be able to sue your employer, you may be able to receive additional compensation for your injuries by filing a third-party suit against the co-worker who caused your injuries. It’s important to work with an attorney to determine all of your legal options.
Have you been injured at work? Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. Let our team stand by your side throughout the workers’ compensation claim process to ensure you are fully compensated for your work-related injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll-free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.