Disability

Personal Injury Vs. Workers’ Compensation: Which One Should I File?

Have you been injured at your workplace or while performing your work duties, such as a slip and fall? If so, you may be thinking of filing a workers’ compensation claim to pay for your medical bills and help to recover your damages. However, did you know that you may also file a personal injury claim, which could provide you with a better settlement than workers’ compensation?

Generally, workers assume that when they are injured at work, the only option they have is through workers’ compensation; but in some situations, it’s possible to file a personal injury claim as well. Many believe that this is considered ‘suing’ your boss, when in reality a third party may be responsible, such as the owner of the building. In this scenario, the third party’s insurance would be responsible for handling the cost of their safety shortcomings.

When Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim

When you are injured at your workplace or off-site while carrying out work-related tasks and decide to file a workers’ comp claim, you don’t have to prove that your employer, co-worker, or any other party caused the injury. Instead, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits even when the injury was your fault in some way. This is exactly what this type of coverage is for. It’s meant to protect workers who become injured in any way, since even if the injury was their fault, they would not have been injured if they were not on the job working for someone else.

If you decide to go with workers’ compensation, you will not receive anything outside of economic costs, but you may recover damages such as medical expenses, weekly compensation for wages, permanent impairment benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. You will not, therefore, be able to claim for pain and suffering. This is because workers’ compensation is actually a form of insurance, or a trade between the business owner and the providers of labor.

When Filing A Personal Injury Claim

The biggest and most important difference is that a personal injury claim is based on fault and a workers’ compensation case is not. In order to recover damages against someone for a car accident, a slip and fall, or indeed any type of negligence claim, the other person must be negligent, meaning that he/she must have done something wrong.

Another difference between a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim is that the latter are not limited to any specific set of people (i.e. workers). In fact, anyone who is injured due to the negligence of another is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, including workers. But in order for an injured worker to recover damages through this more broad route, they must be able to prove that another person or party was at fault or negligent, and caused the injuries.

Unlike workers’ comp damages, personal injury damages are compensatory, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and damages for pain and suffering resulting from the injury.

If you have been injured in a work setting, you may wish to consider the following factors when considering legal remedies:

  • Who is liable for the injury?
  • Was the injury was directly caused by performance of work tasks?
  • Was the injury a one-time event or a recurring condition?

If you have further questions regarding an injury, it may be necessary to discuss more with your employer, or hire a lawyer for more advice.

You’ll Probably Need To Hire An Experienced Attorney

It’s unfortunate when you’re injured on the job, but there are options available to you. Injury and workers compensation laws have a special relationship that is often difficult to understand. You may need to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer to better understand and handle your case. Your attorney can inform you of the different options available to you with regards to an injury that occurred in a work setting. Also, if you need to appear in court or before a judge, your lawyer can help represent you in those times.

Gordon & Gordon Law Firm has been representing clients in the Northwest Louisiana area for over 30 combined years of experience. Attorneys Stephen Gordon and Daniel Gordon founded the law firm of Gordon & Gordon to provide legal representation for people who have been personally injured due to the fault of others. They both work and live right here in the Ark-La-Tex area and will provide a free consultation to you if you call our offices today.

Lady Justice

What Is A Contingency Fee?

A client pays contingent fees to a lawyer only if the lawyer handles a case successfully. Lawyers and clients use this arrangement only in cases where money is being claimed—most often in cases involving personal injury or workers’ compensation.

In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage (often about one third) of the recovery, which is the amount finally paid to the client. If you win the case, the lawyer’s fee comes out of the money that awarded to you from your settlement. If you lose your case, neither you nor the lawyer will get any money, but you will not be required to pay your attorney for the work done on the case either. On the other hand, win or lose, you probably will have to pay court filing fees, the costs related to deposing witnesses, and/or similar charges.

The amount a lawyer can charge for a contingency fee is generally not regulated by law. There are some limited exceptions to this rule, including worker’s compensation claims or claims brought under certain federal laws like the Federal Tort Claims Act. However, because of competition, contingency fees are very uniform throughout the country. Usually, the more complex or time-consuming cases which require the expenditure of considerable costs by the lawyer will demand higher contingency fees. If the lawyer must risk substantial sums of money on risky cases, he or she will often charge a higher contingency fee.

Contingency fees could sometimes be frustrating for both clients and attorneys. In general, contingency fees might be considered a problem for the client or attorney:

  • If a case settles quickly or recovers a lot of money, clients may feel frustrated that the attorney was paid more than the attorney deserves.
  • If a case goes longer than expected or recovers little money, the attorney may be frustrated by lost time and expenses.

In other words, contingency fees by nature will not be 100% accurate, and either the attorney or client may feel somewhat shorted. Attorneys understand this risk, and they can still offset being paid too little on some cases with being paid more than expected on others. Still, clients paying a large fee to an attorney may feel frustrated and want to consider a different payment option depending on the size or nature of their case.

Contingency fees are rarely, if ever, available for these legal areas:

  • Real estate
  • Business litigation
  • Criminal defense (DUI, traffic, drug, and other charges)
  • Adoption
  • Immigration
  • Divorce and similar family law issues
  • Bankruptcy
  • Drafting a contract, will, trust, or other legal documents
  • Starting a business
  • Registering a trademark, copyright, or patent

Consult one of the experienced attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm to see if your important legal matter can be handled without any cost to you upfront. Our free initial consultation has no obligation, and we’ll work closely with you to determine what the best approach to your case might be, even if a contingency fee is not available or other options are preferable.

Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Safety Check: Mistakes You Might Be Making

Car seat safety isn’t only a good practice to retain, it’s the law! Anyone with a child is likely to understand the importance of car-seat safety and how difficult it can typically be to set one up. Almost half (46%) of all child seats that are put into a vehicle include mistakes in the installation or in securing the child to the seat, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The errors significantly “reduce the protection of that car seat or booster seat in the event of a crash,” the agency concludes. Studies suggest that parents and caregivers were often confident that they had done it right, but still unknowingly failed to follow all safety precautions when securing their child into a car seat.

 

Some of the most common mistakes made while securing a child into a car seat are:

  • Using the wrong size seat at the wrong age
  • Not positioning the seat where you can get the tightest fit
  • Not fastening the harness straps securely enough or in the correct position
  • Using both lower anchors and the seat belt— you should choose just one type of installation method.
  • Not using the top tether for a front-facing seat. The top tether is critical whether you’re using a seat belt or lower anchors.
  • Continuing to use lower anchors when your child has surpassed the weight limit

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Association

 

Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash, yet car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. In 2015, 35% of car crashes involving children who not buckled up correctly to the car seat or booster seat resulted in fatalities. For this reason alone, it is very important to choose and use the right car seat, correctly, every time your child is in the car. A car-seat check can help bridge the gap between thinking you’ve got it right and knowing you do.

 

The following steps will guide you through installing your car seat correctly and keeping your child safe:

  • Read your car seat’s instruction manual and your vehicle’s owner manual. Every seat and vehicle is different, which may affect the way the way that you’ll install your particular car seat.
  • Place the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle, in the rear-facing position.
    Carefully thread the seatbelt through the rear-facing belt path and make sure there are no twists in the seat belt.
  • Buckle and lock the seat belt tightly to the back seat. (You should not be able to move the car seat side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch.)
  • Make sure your car seat is installed at the correct recline angle, since babies must ride sitting semi-reclined to keep the airway open.
  • Place your child in the car seat with the child’s back flat against the car seat.
  • Place harness straps over the child’s shoulders. Harness straps should lie flat, not twisted, and be placed through the slots located at or below your child’s shoulders.
  • Buckle the harness and the chest clip, and tighten until snug. The harness is snug enough when you cannot pinch any extra material at the shoulder.
  • If your baby needs support, try to fill the empty spaces with small, rolled blankets on each side of the baby’s shoulders and head so the fit is snug.
  • Bulky clothing or blankets can prevent a snug harness fit. Always buckle the child in the seat first, and then place any coats or blankets over the harness.
  • Place the seat’s chest clip at armpit level, which will hold the harness straps in place on the child’s chest and shoulders.

 

You should never put your children at risk the next time you head for the grocery store, over to grandma’s house, transporting to school, or the dozens of other places you may take them on a weekly basis. Be certain to educate yourself on the latest rules or receive the help from trained Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician who will inspect and approve your car seat installation if you have any doubts. Many parents try their best and still can’t figure this out, while others may think they can stretch an infant seat until they need a booster just to save a bit of money. While there is no link between the cost of the car seat and its effectiveness, please do take all the time you need to make sure you have the right seat with the correct installation for your child’s safety!