Baton Rouge, LA Workplace Accident Lawyer
People who suffer injuries at work may struggle with mounting medical bills, which is only made worse when they are unable to work for their paycheck due to their condition. In these cases, many decide to pursue Workers’ Compensation insurance benefits. However, the alternative path of a workplace injury lawsuit may be available.
While Louisiana law constrains the ability to seek damages in a lawsuit for a workplace injury, there are select examples where injury victims can sue. In these situations, a successful lawsuit could return far more in compensation than Workers’ Compensation insurance would provide in the same scenario.
If you were injured at work, you owe it to yourself and your recovery to discuss your legal options with a seasoned Baton Rouge workplace injury attorney. When you call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (225) 269-8930 today, we can offer you a free initial case evaluation.
Differences Between Workers’ Compensation Claims and Workplace Injury Lawsuits in Baton Rouge
The State of Louisiana has specific rules that make Workers’ Compensation insurance benefits the “exclusive remedy” for employees who are injured at work. This means that, for the most part, if you get hurt at your job, you cannot directly sue your employer.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Workers’ Compensation insurance gets you financial recovery for your medical bills and a majority of the income that you miss out on. Further, you do not need to prove that your employer was at fault for negligently causing the accident to access these benefits.
However, lawsuits provide compensation through court-awarded damages that are not subject to insurance cutoffs. Damages through a lawsuit provide for compensation for a victim’s noneconomic harms in addition to medical expenses and lost income, which Workers’ Compensation benefits do not. For these reasons, your Baton Rouge workplace accident lawyer will always assess your case thoroughly to identify whether you have the ability to step outside of the exclusive remedy rule and file a workplace injury lawsuit.
Exceptions to the Exclusive Remedy Rule in Baton Rouge
As mentioned above, Louisiana law requires that employees who are injured on the job due to employer negligence seek their recovery through their Workers’ Compensation insurance, rather than a lawsuit. However, there are a couple of exceptions and common situations that fall outside of the exclusive remedy rule.
Third Party Negligence
The exclusive remedy rule prevents you from suing your employer for their negligence. However, if the negligent party was not your employer, you are free to file a lawsuit against them.
For instance, if another person or entity owns the property where you work, and failed in their responsibilities to keep the property safe for you and your fellow employee’s use, you can sue the property owner directly. If you were involved in an accident while driving for your employer because of another driver’s negligence, you are free to sue the other driver. If you were injured by a defective product that was manufactured and sold to you or your employer by another company, you can name the manufacturer in your lawsuit.
The exclusive remedy rule applies specifically to employer-employee relationships. However, someone who is working as an independent contractor rather than an employee is not bound by the exclusive remedy rule. This is because independent contractors are technically self-employed, and companies that contract with them are often under no obligation to provide Workers’ Compensation insurance for them.
An easy way to identify the difference is by comparing annual tax filings. An independent contractor must file a 1099 income tax return, whereas an employee uses the traditional W-2, but other factors may call into question whether they qualify as contractors for Workers’ Compensation purposes.
Workers’ Compensation covers workplace injuries without having to determine whether a given party was negligent. However, most Workers’ Compensation plans do not account for injuries that are caused intentionally, such as those resulting from physical assault. If you have reason to believe that your employer intentionally caused you harm, reach out to your Baton Rouge workplace injury lawyer immediately, as you may be able to file your lawsuit against your employer. In these cases, victims may recover even more in damages than they would in a typical personal injury lawsuit, as some cases of intentional harmful conduct result in the court awarding punitive damages.
Examples of Workplace Injuries in Baton Rouge
Depending on the type of work that you do, you could suffer any number of injuries while on the job. Below are some of the most common situations that our Baton Rouge workplace injury attorneys handle on behalf of our injured clients.
Slip and Falls
Any private property owner who invites others onto their property owes legal duties to those guests. the duties vary depending on what capacity the guest enters the property, but if the property owner fails to live up to their respective duties, they will be liable for any resulting harm.
Company Vehicle Accidents
If you were driving in a company vehicle while performing your job duties and were involved in an accident, you can file a lawsuit against the at fault driver. This is common for delivery drivers or workers who travel to job sites with tools and equipment in a company truck. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of serious workplace injury across the country.
Dangerous chemicals and other substances like asbestos pose a real danger to those that spend considerable amounts of time in contact with them. If a property owner does not inform workers of the hazardous conditions, or the safety equipment that the workers use is defective, serious and debilitating illnesses may result.
Few people often stop and consider just how many pieces of equipment and machinery that they rely on working effectively at work every day. Reliance on a defective product, particularly heavy machinery and safety equipment, may result in disastrous consequences. Proving that a manufacturing company was negligently responsible for their product’s malfunction can be difficult without the help of a seasoned Baton Rouge workplace injury lawyer.
Injured at Work? Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras for a Free Case Evaluation Today
You deserve the dedicated and resourceful assistance of our Baton Rouge workplace injury lawyers. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras for your free initial case evaluation today at (225) 269-8930.