Most of the time, if an employee gets injured on the job, they will simply file a workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp claims are generally easy to deal with and do not have an adverse effect on your company. Personal injury lawsuits, on the other hand, can be quite costly. It’s important to know how to protect your company against a personal injury claim from an employee or third party.
Workers’ Comp Vs. Personal Injury
The majority of employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp offers a relatively quick and easy way for employees to receive compensation following a workplace accident. This insurance also offers protection to employers by reducing the number of lawsuits they face and the time and cost associated with those legal disputes.
People get hurt at work. Even when all safety precautions are taken, it is still going to happen from time to time. Workers’ comp insurance functions with an understanding of this basic principle.
When an employee gets injured on the job from an unforeseeable accident, they simply file a workers’ compensation claim and receive money to cover the medical costs of their injury. They can also receive compensation for lost pay if they miss work as a result of their injury.
An employer of a large company doesn’t have to worry about a single workers’ compensation claim. As long as their claim costs stay below the average for a company of the same type and size, their premiums won’t go up and could even end up dropping.
If a company has an above-average number of workers’ comp claims, though, then they have a problem. Working to improve safety and reduce workplace accidents can get their numbers back on track.
With a personal injury lawsuit, things are a bit different. When an employee suffers an injury and files a personal injury claim against their employer, they do so for two reasons.
The first reason is that they are hoping for a larger settlement than the money they would receive from a workers’ comp claim. The second reason is that they believe they can show that their injury was not the result of an unavoidable accident. Instead, they believe negligent practices on the part of their employer put them at unnecessary risk.
A personal injury claim can be quite costly to a company as there are not the same limitations upon compensation amounts that are built into a workers’ comp claim. It is important to defend against personal injury claims. However, it is even more important to try to minimize the occurrence of these claims in the first place.
How to Avoid a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The first step in avoiding a personal injury lawsuit is to ensure a safe workplace for your employees. Not only is it important to create guidelines for safety and ensure all equipment is working safely, but it is also important to follow up on these conditions. Ask your personal injury lawyer about this.
It is vital that all safety procedures are fully communicated to employees on every level. Not only do your workers need to know what they need to do in order to safely operate equipment, but managers also need to know all of the actions they need to take to ensure that the equipment is in working order. Regular safety inspections of the workplace and all equipment are necessary to ensure the well-being of all employees.
Make sure that all inspections are well documented and review them regularly to ensure that there are no failures of safety procedures on any level of the company.
How to Defend Against a Personal Injury Claim
After a lawsuit has been filed, the best way to defend against a personal injury claim is to hire an experienced legal team. However, most of the defense against personal injury claims comes before an accident occurs.
The best defense is to avoid a personal injury lawsuit in the first place by ensuring a safe workplace where everyone is working towards the goal of accident prevention. As long as you are doing this, even if an employee does bring a personal injury claim against your company, they are unlikely to have any real chance of winning.
Non-Accident Related Claims
Not every personal injury claim comes as the result of an accident. Many claims can also be health-related if employees were exposed to a chemical or another agent through the course of their work that resulted in an illness. These kinds of personal injury claims can come years after the fact.
These kinds of lawsuits are often not isolated incidents. Most of the time, when employees are injured due to exposure to a dangerous chemical, several employees will have suffered the same exposure. These situations can also involve harm to the general public and result in mass tort cases investigations that can lead to massive financial compensation packages owed by the company.
These types of cases have resulted in the downfall of many large companies over the years that were not able to survive the massive cost associated with these lawsuits.
Safety First Is Always the Best Policy
Creating a safe workspace is not only the best way to defend your company but also the right thing to do for your employees. Promoting a safe and healthy work environment is a win-win situation that will put all parties in the best possible position for success and happiness.