Q: Rather than Collecting Workers’ Compensation, May I Bring a Lawsuit Against My Employer?
A: Workers’ compensation is usually the only legal remedy for an employee injured or sickened in the course of employment. The public policy behind workers’ compensation envisions a bargain between employers and employees in which workers give up the right to sue their employers in court in exchange for the guaranty of workers’ compensation benefits. This reduces tension in the workplace by creating a predictable method for resolving employer-employee conflict. Although workers’ compensation awards tend to be smaller than those in lawsuits, employees are not left without support during drawn-out court proceedings with unsure outcomes.
Q: What Are the Vocational Rehabilitation Rights of Injured Workers?
A: Vocational rehabilitation is the process of rebuilding work skills as part of recovering from an injury or illness. Sometimes an injured individual can eventually return to his or her previous job. If an injury places long-term or permanent limitations upon the person, retraining for a new type of job may be necessary. Depending upon the law of your state, if you require vocational rehabilitation after a job injury or industrial illness, your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer, or the state, or some combination of these three resources may be required to pay for your vocational rehabilitation services as part of your workers’ compensation benefits.