Workers’ compensation is often available if you get hurt while on the job. However, not many people really understand how workers’ compensation operates. This can lead to confusion, especially when things don’t go right, or if your employer hasn’t handled things properly on their end. Unfortunately, this confusion can result in bad decisions, like signing a contract that prohibits you from exercising your rights.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
Imagine you get hurt while on the job. You fall off a ladder and break your leg in a construction accident, and now you have thousands of dollars in medical bills. To make matters worse, you can’t put any weight on your leg for several weeks, and have to go through extensive physical therapy to get things back to normal.
Because you were working for the benefit of your employer when you got hurt, it would only be fair for your employer to help you back onto your feet.
One way for this to happen is through a personal injury lawsuit. By suing your employer in court and claiming that they were responsible for your injuries, you could get the compensation that you need.
However, suing your employer for compensation has lots of cons to it. Not only does it create a lot of bad blood between you and your boss, it also leads to recovery amounts that are difficult to predict. While a sympathetic jury could give you a huge amount of compensation, an unsympathetic one could leave you struggling to make ends meet. This makes your employer worried that you could get such a huge amount in the case that they won’t be able to pay.
Workers’ compensation fixes this dilemma by creating a trade-off. On the one hand, employers agree to carry insurance that will cover the costs of any workplace injuries that happen. On the other hand, employees agree not to file personal injury lawsuits to get the compensation they need and deserve.
In theory, this trade off is a win-win. Employers don’t have to worry about paying a surprisingly huge jury verdict, while employees still get the help they need to overcome a workplace injury. Even better, this compensation comes without a long court battle that makes everyone hate one another.
In practice, though, this trade off is fraught with problems. For example, the compensation structure that’s on the table in a workers’ compensation claim might not be adequate to your needs. However, because it’s there, it prevents you from exercising your rights to file a personal injury lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
This is why it’s so important to have a workers’ compensation attorney at your side whenever you get hurt while on the job. Missouri's workers’ compensation law is not a simple law: There are nuances to it that only attorneys with years of practice can understand. By going it alone, you might be missing huge opportunities to get the compensation that you so desperately need to overcome a workplace injury.