Most hurt workers just automatically turn to workers' compensation for work-related injuries. In most cases, the medical care and partial salary you get with workers' comp is more than adequate. There are some types of injuries, however, that is in a different category. You cannot earn both workers' comp and other forms of compensation, so it's important to understand how certain injuries deserve more attention. Read on to learn more.
Toxic Substance Exposure
It is not unusual for workers to deal with dangerous substances as a routine part of their jobs. When things go wrong, it can cause devastating injuries. You can be affected by acute or long-term injuries from toxic substances. Acute exposure can be an emergency situation. Once addressed, acute toxic exposure can result in permanent injuries. Long-term exposure can go on for years before the worker realizes the impact. For example, asbestos exposure may not cause any symptoms at first but that doesn't mean the damage is not being done. Once the tiny asbestos fibers lodge in your lung tissue, the damage cannot be undone. Years after your initial exposure to asbestos, you can begin to feel the negative and fatal results of exposure to this toxic workplace substance.
It's not just consumers that can be harmed by defective products. Manufacturing jobs expose workers to dangerous machinery and products every day. When you are hurt by an assembly-line component or a defective machine, you have two options for taking action. You may have a course of action against your employer if they knew (or should have known) about the defect and exposed workers to harm anyway. You may also have a case against the manufacturer of the faulty equipment. In some cases, the harm can be determined by the judge to be so egregious that punitive damages will be added to a lawsuit. Punitive damages send a message to employers and manufacturers that they will pay the price if they continue to allow workers to be harmed.
Bypassing Workers' Compensation
You cannot open a claim for compensation from both worker's comp insurance and a civil claim for personal injuries. If you are hurt in a workplace accident that causes permanent and serious harm, speak to a personal injury attorney and have your case evaluated. For example, if you have been harmed by asbestos exposure, you may want to file a claim and take advantage of the trust fund set aside for victims of this type of harm instead of relying on workers' compensation insurance.