What You Need to Know about Catastrophic Injury Claims
On-the-job motor vehicle accidents, falls at work, workplace violence and accidents caused by the use of machines and industrial vehicles are the leading causes of traumatic injuries suffered at work. These worker injury cases can have a profound, life-changing impact on the injured workers and their families, and often victims suffer injuries that leave them with a permanent disability. Catastrophic injuries including partial paralysis or quadriplegia, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), spinal cord injuries, severe nerve damage, loss of a limb, permanent blindness and severe burns can result from serious occupational accidents.
When a worker injury results in permanent disability, navigating compensation to plan for your future can be complex. Here are some pointers to help guide you through.
Document Everything and Seek Support
Get ready for the most organized version of yourself. It’s very important to maintain a record of expenses, appointments, medications prescribed and deadlines to ensure you are receiving the care you need and the compensation that will allow you to focus on your recovery. A range of support services and programs is available to provide financial and legal assistance for people with disabilities, from modifying your home to caregiver support services. Many caretakers and individuals seek out the support of private Facebook groups and online communities as well as their local charitable organizations.
There are four classifications of disability benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act: Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD), Supplemental Earnings Benefit (SEB) and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD).
In cases of severe and catastrophic injury resulting in a disability in which the employee may not ever be able to return to work, the employee would be entitled to permanent total disability benefits. These benefits are paid for the life of the injured worker. The amount of weekly PTD benefits is two-thirds the amount of the injured workers’ average weekly wage (AWW).
Third Party Settlements and Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault insurance policy mandatory in all states but Texas, which voted in 2013 to allow employers to opt out of workers’ compensation by offering alternative benefits to employees. Workers’ comp insurance provides cash and medical benefits to workers who are injured or become ill in the course of their employment and provides cash benefits to the survivors of workers killed on the job. Generally, employers are immune from liability for an injury sustained by an employee in a job accident, and workers’ comp does not compensate for pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages. Workers’ comp benefits cover “reasonably necessary medical care” for treatment of the injury and two-thirds of the worker’s AWW.
In some instances, injured workers may file a civil lawsuit against a third party that is responsible or contributed to his or her injuries. You may be able to file a third-party claim for damages on top of a workers’ comp claim if injured in a job accident caused, in part, by a third party. Circumstances such as construction accidents due to defective or faulty equipment, inadequate safety measures and training, or reckless conduct are situations that should be given responsible legal guidance. The employer or insurer is able to recover a portion of the workers’ compensation benefits paid if a settlement or judgment awards damages.
Example: Construction accident injury due to negligent site supervision
Trammell Piazza Law Firm successfully argued a settlement for a construction site supervision negligency lawsuit for the injury of a contractor who suffered a permanent injury after falling off a ladder from the roof to a lower floor of the building. The defendant was contracted to monitor and inspect the work of subcontractors to ensure compliance with the contract and safety, and was “solely responsible for construction means, methods, techniques, sequences, and procedures” for the work.
Trammell Piazza Managing Partner Chad Trammell successfully argued the construction manager was negligent for failing to properly supervise, monitor, and/or inspect the ladder and safety grip installation, creating unsafe work conditions for workers accessing the roof. The firm was able to secure a generous settlement against the defendant, including compensatory damages for past and future emotional distress, past and future disfigurement, pain and suffering, and past and future loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.
Trusted Severe Injury Lawyers
Trammell Piazza can help victims of catastrophic worker injuries focus on their recovery and their family’s future while we handle the process of working the case through the legal system and achieving maximum recovery from the parties responsible. These cases involve expertise into both workers’ compensation and personal injury law.
Workplace injury claims are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us until your settlement is won. Schedule a free consultation today to determine the best course of action in pursuing your claim.