Workers’ Compensation Archives

Frequently Asked Questions About the Jones Act – Part 2

In our previous post on the Jones Act, we looked at some commonly asked questions people have about this important personal injury law. The Jones Act applies to maritime workers, or seamen, who suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of their employers. While you should always bring your specific questions to an experienced personal injury attorney, we thought we would take a look at some additional questions that many people have about the Jones Act, how it works, and how it can help you.

What is negligence under the Jones Act?

The Jones Act applies to situations that involve employer negligence in a maritime setting. This essentially means that, in order to recover injuries sustained by a seamen, that seamen has to show that the employer failed to use the requisite care to prevent such injuries from occurring.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Jones Act – Part 1

When people who work on ocean-going vessels, fishing boats, or other maritime craft get injured, they often speak with a personal injury attorney about the possibility of recovering money for their injuries. In many cases, people injured in maritime accidents can recover compensation under the terms of the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a specific law that applies to personal injuries that arise in maritime situations. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the Jones Act, what it does, who it covers, and how it works by looking at some frequently asked questions.

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act, also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that covers negligent claims that arise out of maritime situations. When a sailor, mechanic, steward, captain, ship’s crewmember, or other maritime worker suffers an injury in the course of his or her duties as a result of an employer’s negligence, that maritime worker can recover compensation for his or her injuries.

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What is Workers’ Comp?

Posted on June 6, 2014

What is Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ comp, short for workers’ compensation, is a system of workplace insurance coverage that protects workers who suffer injuries or illnesses because of their jobs. Every state, as well as the federal government, has its own workers’ compensation system, though all of them operate in essentially the same way. If you sustain an injury while on the job, or are injured or become ill because of your work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim.

No-Fault Protection

Workers’ compensation programs operate under a “no-fault” principle. This means that workers can receive compensation for their on-the-job injuries regardless of who or what caused those injuries. It isn’t necessary, for example, for someone who suffers an on-the-job injury to prove or show that someone else caused the injury, or that it resulted from the employer’s negligence.

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Can I Sue My Employer For an Injury I Suffer at Work?

Most people know that when someone is injured at work, workers’ compensation insurance will cover the expenses. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that in some situations, employees who suffer an on-the-job injury can sue their employer in court. Here’s what you need to know about suing an employer because of an on-the-job injury.

When Workers’ Compensation Applies

If a worker suffers an injury while on the job or because of work-related conditions, that worker can receive workers’ compensation. For example, a worker who injures her back while lifting a heavy object at work can file a workers’ compensation claim. So, too, can a worker who develops a repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, because of typing on a computer all day.

When Workers Can Sue Employers

Not all injuries are covered under workers’ compensation. Some injuries are so significant that workers can ignore the normal requirement of filing a workers’ comp claim, and instead file a lawsuit.

For example, workers who are injured because of an employer’s intentional or reckless behavior can skip workers’ compensation and file a lawsuit. In other situations, workers harmed by a defective product or toxic substance can file a lawsuit, as can those hurt when an employer doesn’t have the appropriate workers’ compensation coverage as required by state law.

Defective Products, Employers, and Manufacturers

In many workplace injury cases, a worker suffers an injury not necessarily because of someone’s intentional or negligent actions, but because an equipment manufacturer produced a defective product. In such cases, the employee is not really suing the employer, but rather, sues the company that made the equipment.
For example, a painter employed by a painting company might use different types of equipment in the course of his day. One day, the paint sprayer he is using malfunctions, causing an explosion that leaves the painter severely injured. If the explosion was caused by a defective product, and had nothing to do with the employer’s recklessness, the injured painter can sue the paint sprayer manufacturer.

Toxic Materials

Similar to defective products, workers who suffer injuries because of toxic substances found in the workplace can also pursue remedies outside of workers’ compensation. As with defective products, any manufacturer that produces a toxic substance can be held liable for injuries workers suffer, even if those injuries only appear years later.

For example, workers who are exposed to benzene can suffer significant negative health consequences. Short-term symptoms of benzene exposure can include headaches, rapid heartbeats, and dizziness, while long-term side effects can include a weakened immune system and different types of cancer. Depending on the circumstances, workers exposed to toxic materials in the workplace might be able to sue either the employer or the manufacturer for the injuries they suffered.

Legal Evaluation

Determining if you can pursue a claim outside of workers’ compensation is not something the average worker can do. If you’ve been injured or have suffered illnesses because of your job, you should talk to a personal injury attorney near you. Workers’ compensation laws differ from state to state, so you need an attorney familiar with local laws in order to properly evaluate your case.

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Types of Personal Injury Cases and Associated Compensation

According to the American Bar Association, personal injury law is designed to protect individuals or their property in the event that they are injured or harmed due to the actions of someone else, or as a result of someone’s failure to act. Personal injury law is sometimes referred to as tort law. Personal injuries can occur in a variety of settings and for a variety of reasons. A primary cause of personal injury is negligence, which is defined by the Insurance Information Institute as “failure to act with the legally required degree of care for others, resulting in harm to them.”

Personal injury may also be based on strict liability or intentional wrongs. The notion of strict liability holds manufactures and designers liable for injuries that result from defective products. In strict liability personal injury cases, the injured party is not required to establish negligence on the part of the manufacturer or designer, but is instead required to show that the product was manufactured or designed in such a way that it became unreasonably dangerous when used for its intended purpose. Personal injury cases can also be based on intentional wrongs, however such cases are rare. An example of a case filed on such a basis would be if a store patron was wrongly detained by a security guard for suspicion of shoplifting; the detained individual might be able to file a suit for false imprisonment. There are several types of personal injury cases that can be pursued, examples of which are described below.

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What’s Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

When someone is injured on the job, or suffers an illness because of job-related conditions, that worker is entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim. Even though all states have somewhat different workers’ compensation laws, workers can count on being able to receive workers’ compensation when they suffer certain types of injuries or illnesses.

Work-Related Injuries

People can receive workers’ compensation benefits when they suffer an injury that is work-related, but the term “work-related” is sometimes more complicated than it might first appear. In general, any injury you suffer as a result of your job duties, or those that arise while doing your job, are covered under work-related injuries.

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Common Questions About Work Injuries

Posted on September 12, 2013

Common Questions About Work Injuries

For those who suffer injuries at work, finding out what your rights are and what options are available to you can often be difficult. When you suffer a work-related injury or become sick because of the conditions you were exposed to while working, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Like many areas of the law, work injuries are treated differently between states, though there are some general similarities that apply regardless of where you live.

Workers’ Compensation

Injuries in the workplace are unfortunately common. While some industries and jobs are more dangerous than others, almost anyone can suffer an injury while they work. Because of this, and because so many workers used to sue employers for being hurt because of the job, all states have developed a workers’ compensation insurance system. Also known as workman’s compensation or workman’s comp, these programs require employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance covers anyone who was injured at work and eliminates the need for those workers to have to sue the employer to recover damages.

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Workers' Compensation: Injury During Employment

When an employee is injured during the course and scope of his employment, the manner by which he is compensated changes considerably. Up until now, we have discussed how an attorney represents his client by demanding compensation from the person who is at fault for the injuries. The attorney uses methods that include litigation, arbitration, or maybe just an intimidating demand letter. However, the methods change in situations where his client is an injured employee.

Individual states and the federal government have specifically created laws that compensate persons who are injured while at work, and the laws do not focus much on blaming anyone for the injury. Instead, an employer must pay the compensation to his injured employee merely because the employee was injured while on the job. This is a bit of an overstatement of the rules, and there are exceptions, but it is generally true. The catch? Employees are not eligible to sue the employer in court for the injury. Instead, they must settle for what the workers’ compensation laws require the employer to pay.

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Workers Compensation

Posted on January 10, 2013

Workers Compensation

Despite the best actions of employers and employees, accidents on the job do happen. Whether an employee works behind a desk, drives behind a wheel, or stands behind a counter, things can go wrong and injuries can occur. Regardless of their nature, injuries and illnesses have financial, emotional, and personal costs – including lost wages, lost earning potential, and physical pain and suffering.

In the event of a job-related injury, laws are in place to protect workers’ rights. In every state but Texas, almost all employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance in order to cover medical expenses that result from work-related illnesses and injuries, and to partially replace workers’ lost wages.

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