Experiencing a workplace injury can be extremely frightening for workers, forcing them to grapple with unexpected medical expenses and worry about providing for themselves and their families while temporarily—or permanently—unable to work.
Fortunately, workers who find themselves in this position may be eligible to seek compensation for injuries and other losses—either through a workers' compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit.
What Workers' Compensation Claims Include in Delaware
In Delaware, workers' compensation is an insurance system created by the state legislature to protect employees or are injured on the job. Workers' compensation offers a variety of benefits, including:
- Medical care
- Temporary total or partial disability payments
- Compensation for permanent impairment
- Mileage Reimbursement
If the accident or injury results in a worker's death, the law allows for certain benefits to be paid to their family.
Because workers' compensation is a no-fault system, claimants are not required to prove that another person's negligence directly led to their injuries to collect benefits. Workers might not be eligible for workers' compensation benefits if their injuries were purposefully self-inflicted, sustained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, unrelated to work duties, or caused during a non-work-related altercation with a co-worker.
Delaware requires employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. Many Delaware employers voluntarily agree to pay employees workers' compensation benefits after an on-the-job accident. Though, in some cases, workers may have to petition the Office of Workers' Compensation and go before the Industrial Accident Board (IAB) to fight for the benefits they need and deserve.
Wilmington Personal Injury Attorneys Help with Workers' Compensation Claims
While workers' compensation claims are usually the first line of recourse for injured or ill workers—and, in some cases, may be the only remedy at their disposal—there are times when filing a personal injury lawsuit may be more appropriate. Though Delaware law doesn't allow injured workers to bring personal injury lawsuits against their employers, these suits can be brought against negligent third parties. However, it's important to note that obtaining compensation through a personal injury lawsuit isn't as easy as obtaining workers' compensation benefits, as plaintiffs are required to show that the third party named in their lawsuit is responsible for their injuries. Specifically, plaintiffs must prove:
- The party named in the lawsuit owed them a duty of care, such as to ensure or maintain safety in the workplace
- The defendant breached this duty of care
- This breach of duty of care directly led to the plaintiff's injury
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the injuries
Workers who file a personal injury lawsuit after being injured by third-party negligence in the workplace can seek compensation for a much broader range of damages. In addition to compensation for economic losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning potential, personal injury plaintiffs can also pursue compensation for non-economic losses, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
Experienced Representation for Workers' Compensation Claims in Wilmington, DE
After an on-the-job injury, it's important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced workers' compensation attorney who can help you understand your options. Contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation initial case consultation.