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Is A Workers’ Compensation Settlement Your Best Option?

Posted in Worker's Compensation on August 10, 2022

Sustaining an injury at work can lead to significant setbacks. This includes medical treatment as well as lost wages if the injury is severe. The vast majority of workplace injury claims are resolved through settlements with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Here, we want to discuss whether or not a settlement is in your best interests, as well as whether or not there may be other options to recover additional compensation.

Workers’ Compensation is Usually the Only Option

Many people do not realize that the workers’ compensation processes are substantially different than traditional personal injury cases. In Arizona, just about every employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This means a few things, at least as far as injury claims go, for the worker and for the employer.

When a work injury happens, the injury victim is typically able to file a claim and recover complete compensation for their medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. Even if the worker caused their own injury, they will still be able to recover compensation for their losses.

However, part of the workers’ compensation process is a caveat that the injured individual will typically not be able to file a lawsuit against other parties involved, including the employer or a coworker. This is true even if the employer or a coworker was at fault for the incident.

There essentially is no such thing as a workers’ compensation trial, though injured workers are able to file appeals if they disagree with a decision made by the insurance carrier. Just about every workers’ compensation case could be considered a “settlement.”

Appealing the Decision

As we briefly mentioned, workplace injury victims are able to file appeals through the state workers’ compensation system. Appeals occur for a variety of reasons, but usually because a person disagrees with a claim denial or with the decision to discontinue providing medical treatment or lost income. 

A workers’ compensation appeals process can be challenging, and we strongly encourage any individual facing this situation to contact a skilled Phoenix work injury lawyer who can help them.

Third-Party Lawsuits

There are some cases where a third-party personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party will be appropriate for a work injury claim. Typically, we see this arise when another party, aside from an employer or a coworker, is responsible for the on-the-job injury. For example, suppose an individual works for a construction company but is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a subcontractor at the job site. In this scenario, it may certainly be appropriate to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault subcontractor.

When a third-party personal injury lawsuit is filed, this allows the individual to recover additional types of compensation above and beyond what would typically be available through a workers’ compensation claim, including payment for pain and suffering damages. However, it will be necessary for the injury victim to prove the negligence of the other party, which is not needed for a typical workers’ compensation claim. In other words, third-party lawsuits are more complicated than recovering compensation through a workers’ comp claim.