Slip-and-fall injuries, along with falls from a height, are among the most common and most deadly work-related injuries. These injuries are especially severe if the victim had a pre-existing condition like a bad knee or poor eyesight.
Thanks to the eggshell skull rule, these victims are usually entitled to maximum compensation. This rule dictates that defendants cannot use a victim’s vulnerabilities as an excuse to reduce or deny necessary compensation. Usually, the defendant in these cases is an insurance company. However, as outlined below, there are times when the defendant is the employer, especially in cases where workers’ compensation is not an option.
No matter who the defendant is, a Richmond work accident lawyer can obtain compensation for your injuries. Perhaps more importantly, an attorney also obtains justice and closure. Civil claims are often the only way to convince companies to change the way they do business and effectively promote employee safety.
What Are Subscriber Claims?
Subscriber claims: this term is legalese for injury claims against a workers’ compensation insurance company. Workers’ comp provides no-fault benefits which pay for:
- Lost Wages: If the fall injury temporarily disables the victim, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage for the duration of the temporary disability. If the injury is permanently disabling, a lump-sum payment is usually available.
- Medical Bills: Workers’ compensation insurance also pays all reasonably necessary medical bills. This category includes more than hospital or doctor bills. It also covers physical therapy, transportation expenses, medical devices, prescription drugs, and any other related costs.
Workers do not need to prove negligence or anything else to obtain this compensation. They must only show that they sustained a work-related injury. Furthermore, as mentioned above, a pre-existing condition does not derail these claims.
To start these claims, most workers must notify their supervisors in writing. Electronic or telephone notice might not be good enough. It’s best to send an email and then follow-up with a snail mail notice.
Promptness is important in these claims, and so is perseverance. Typically, claims examiners deny these claims, at least in part. Do not give up or settle your claim for less than it is worth. The outcome is usually a lot different at an appeal hearing. Furthermore, the benefits are usually retroactive. So, you have nothing to lose by appealing a denied claim.
What Are Non-Subscriber Claims?
Non-subscriber claims: this term is legalese for job injury claims which insurance does not cover. There are several possible scenarios.
To save money on premiums, some companies lie on insurance forms, mostly about payroll size or worker duties. The larger the payroll, the higher the premium. And, the riskier the job, the higher the premium. If the insurance company catches the employer in a lie, the company often refuses to honor the policy.
Other employers blatantly ignore the law and do not buy insurance, though they are legally required to do so. Government inspectors are not very diligent in this area, so the chances of getting caught are rather slim. Furthermore, even if they do get caught, the penalty is usually just a small fine.
On a related note, some employers buy fake policies or buy policies from under-capitalized companies. These policies might satisfy inspectors, but they do not adequately compensate job injury victims.
Finally, some employers purposefully send workers into dangerous environments. For example, so employees work faster, a construction company might remove safety harnesses from a scaffolding.
In nonsubscriber claims, fall injury victims usually can file claims in civil court. If successful, these victims can obtain additional compensation for things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and emotional distress. Furthermore, these employers often cannot use comparative fault and some other “silver bullet” defenses. So, it’s easier to establish these claims.
Start Your Claim Today by Calling an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Procedurally, an attorney usually handles these claims from start to finish. There are no forms to fill out and no immediate deadlines to worry about. If you fell at work, substantial compensation is available for your serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Richmond, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.