Few people think about the risk of injury when they go to their jobs, but workplace accidents and injuries are fairly commonplace. One of the most complex types of injuries people might suffer while working on the job is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). One study found that 7.3% of all workplace injuries involved TBIs, which can have lasting consequences for people who sustain them. If you’ve suffered a head injury at work, you might be dealing with significant financial and non-economic losses. Scroll down to learn how to recover compensation for your workplace TBI.
Pursuing Compensation for Workplace Head Injuries
If you have suffered a head injury at work, your recovery could be lengthy. Some people who suffer TBIs never fully recover and are unable to return to the activities they previously enjoyed. To recover compensation for a head injury at work, you must file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Missouri’s workers’ compensation law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance or self-insure to pay for the injuries workers suffer while they are working. Because of the availability of workers’ compensation insurance, injured employees can’t file injury lawsuits against their employers in most cases. Instead, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover compensation for your head injury unless an exception applies.
Compensation Available Through Workers’ Compensation
The types of compensation that you might recover through a workers’ compensation claim in Missouri include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy costs
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages of 66% of your average weekly pay up to a maximum of 55% of the state’s average weekly wage
- Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
- Home care costs
Workers’ compensation does not cover non-economic damages or your total income losses. However, it will cover 100% of your medical bills, meaning you will not have to use your health insurance or pay copays or deductibles.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to pursue a third-party claim while also pursuing workers’ compensation for your losses related to your head injury at work. If a third party at your worksite caused your accident and injuries because of negligence, you might have grounds to file a claim against the third party in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
This situation sometimes arises on construction sites that have several subcontractors working around each other. For example, if an employee of another subcontractor at the worksite negligently crashed into you and caused your head injury, you could file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer and a negligence lawsuit against the third-party subcontractor.
The ability to file a third-party lawsuit can help to maximize your recovery by allowing you to recover other types of damages not available through workers’ compensation, including all lost wages and non-economic damages. When you recover compensation through both a third-party and workers’ compensation claim, you won’t be allowed to double-dip, however. Your two recoveries will offset each other.
When Can an Employer Be Sued for a Workplace Head Injury?
There are a few exceptions to the workers’ compensation rule that allow injured workers to step outside of the workers’ compensation system and sue their employers directly. If your employer fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance despite the law, they won’t be protected by the workers’ compensation law. Instead, you can file a lawsuit against the employer to recover damages.
A second situation in which you might be able to sue your employer for your injuries is when you are employed as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Since independent contractors are not considered to be employees, they aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. They can also file personal injury lawsuits against the companies for which they work when they suffer injuries while working because of the negligence of others.
Consult an Experienced Workers’ Compensation and TBI Attorney
If you suffered a head injury in a workplace accident, it’s important to explore your legal options and potential avenues for recovery. Talk to the experienced workers’ compensation and traumatic brain injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today by calling 417-322-2222 or contacting us online to learn more about your rights.