The difference between workers' comp and a work injury lawsuit

Full compliance with the safety regulations prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Department will help you to avoid workplace injuries. However, the negligent acts of others or malfunctioning equipment can cause life-changing injuries. Although Oklahoma workers' compensation will provide benefits to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages, there might be other options that will provide more comprehensive coverage.

The first things to do after suffering a workplace injury is to get the necessary medical care and then report the injury to your employer. However, before you file a workers' compensation claim or before you sign any documents presented by your employer, you might be better off to discuss your case with an experienced work injury attorney.

Why does it make sense to seek legal help?

Not only can the lawyer make sure you understand your rights but he or she can also examine the circumstances that led to your injury to determine the options that will provide maximum coverage for the losses and damages you suffered. If a third-party or a manufacturer of equipment caused your injury, you might have grounds to pursue financial relief through the civil justice system as well as workers' compensation.

Who can file a work injury lawsuit?

You can file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court if you are the injured worker. However, if you lose your life in a workplace accident, or if you die from a work-related illness, your loved ones might have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Whether you file a workers' compensation benefits claim or a civil lawsuit, the eligibility criteria and requirements for both can be confusing, especially if you have to deal with it while coping with a serious injury or illness.

Will you be able to afford legal counsel?

If you seek the support and guidance of a reputable Oklahoma law firm, a lawyer will review your case, determine the viability of a lawsuit and answer your questions. Usually, only if the attorney is successful in recovering your damages will you have to pay legal fees.

Should you settle?

If you file a work injury lawsuit, the defendant might offer a settlement amount rather than take the case to trial. In many cases, such offers are significantly less than what a skilled attorney can secure by seeking a verdict in court. Both verdicts and settlements are binding legal agreements, and this is another reason for securing legal counsel who can evaluate any settlement offers. A lawyer will also explain that a jury will decide the verdict, and there is no guarantee that it will exceed the settlement offer.

Potential recovery

Each case is unique, and depending on the circumstances that caused your injury or illness, a lawyer can help you to secure compensation for the following losses:

  • Medical expenses including doctors' fees, hospital bills, therapy sessions — including future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages due to the inability to return to work
  • Mental and physical pain and suffering resulting from the injury — past and future
  • Accumulated debts resulting from income loss
  • Additional unique needs including medical equipment, such as crutches, a wheelchair or more

The choice is yours

When you are injured at work, you can pursue workers' compensation benefits, or, if a third party is to blame, you can seek additional compensation through the Oklahoma civil justice system. An experienced work injury attorney might be the best person to navigate the ensuing proceedings.

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