Most people are aware that any injury on the job is covered by workers compensation. The right to have your medical bills and wages paid and the amounts paid for each are set by statue in every state. Workers compensation systems are referred to as “no fault” systems, meaning it doesn’t matter who caused the injury, everyone is covered. In exchange for everyone being covered and supposedly speedy payment of set benefits, workers give up the right to make any claim for injury against their employer. The rule prohibits claims against fellow employees as well. If you are injured by a fellow employee or your boss, even if due to an act of carelessness, you give up your right to sue by being covered under workers compensation. The only exception is an intentional injury. In other words, you still have the right to sue if your boss of co-worker deliberately caused your injury. The exception essentially requires the act to rise to the level of an assault. Sometimes however, injuries are caused by someone not in the employ of your company. Construction sites are a place where this commonly occurs. Anytime employees from several different companies are working in the same location, the lack of abiding by certain safety rules by one company can cause injury to the employees of another. When this occurs, the injured worker still is entitled to have his injury covered under workers compensation. In addition however, he or she is entitled to ask the other employer to compensate him or her for the many things workers compensation just doesn’t cover. Things like damages for loss of future ability to earn; pain and suffering, disruption of life or permanent damage to someone’s health are all items of damage not covered under workers compensation. In these situations, the injured worker would benefit from finding out what his or her rights are with regards to compensation from the other company. Making an injury claim against the other company will do nothing to harm your right to collect full workers compensation benefits. If you collect any damages from the other employer however, you do have to reimburse your workers compensation department for the benefits they paid. Making a claim against another company for your injury also benefits your employer. If the workers compensation department is reimbursed out of any settlement you receive, your employer benefits by having his workers compensation rates lowered.
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