The vast majority of workplace injuries are covered by workers' compensation. These workplace injuries can be caused by anything or anyone and at any time, even a fellow co-worker. Under workers' compensation laws, the cause of the accident is less important than the fact that it occurred during the course of work.
If you get hurt on the job, it is important that you understand your state's workers' compensation insurance system, since it may be your only means of receiving compensation for your work-related injury. In this article we'll look at a workers' comp claim in the context of an injury caused by a co-worker, as well as your options for a personal injury claim for cases not covered by workers' compensation.
A workplace accident is usually defined as an unexpected, work-related incident that causes a loss or injury. An incident is work-related if it arises out of and in the course of employment. Oftentimes, these workplace accidents are caused by co-workers.
If you are injured by a co-worker, and the injury is the result of a work-related incident, you should follow these steps:
Notify Your Employer. Whenever an injury occurs on the job, you should immediately notify your employer. The employer will make notes, call the appropriate authorities, and inquire into whether you need immediate medical care. Not only will this assist you in receiving treatment, but it may prevent other employees from becoming injured in the same way.
Document Your Injuries. Next, document the facts and circumstances of the injury while they are fresh in your mind. Also document any pain you feel, how the injury limits your work productivity, and any medications you are taking as a result. You might be called upon to testify about all of these things long after the injury-causing event occurred. If you do not have some sort of record to refresh your recollection, you might forget key details, and that can have a negative effect on your claim.
Most likely, your company's human resources representative will record the events by interviewing all witnesses and involved parties. Make sure to obtain a copy of this record for your use in court or settlement negotiations.
Make A Work Injury Accident Report. Many states and employers have their own claim forms which you will need to fill out in order to request workers' compensation benefits. If your employer does not give you a claim form, get one from your state's workers' compensation board.
The workers' compensation claim form will ask you for your personal information, as well as information about the accident. Typically, the accident report will ask you to include:
After you fill out this form, give it to your employer. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself.
If you do not report your injury within a certain amount of time, usually within 30 days, you may lose your right to collect workers' compensation benefits.
Employees are generally not covered by workers' compensation if their injuries were caused by a co-worker who was not engaged in a non-work-related activity. Typical situations in which workers' compensation will not apply include:
In these situations, however, you will still be able to sue your co-worker (and possibly your employer) in civil court via a personal injury lawsuit.
Civil liability for injury includes harm stemming from intentional acts, where the co-worker intentionally harmed you, and negligence, where your co-worker did not exercise reasonable care when they harmed you, but the act was not done on purpose.