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April 24th, 2017

My husband was hurt at work and hasn’t been able to go back to his job. We are in financial trouble. Do we have any legal rights?

We are sorry to hear of your husband’s accident. We will assume for purposes of the answer below that your husband filed a workers’ compensation claim.

Legal Rights to Compensation – Workers’ Comp & Civil Lawsuits

After a work accident happens, an injured worker usually has the right to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit against parties whose negligent conduct led to the accident. These are two separate types of legal claims, and they do not depend on each other. This is something that tends to be confusing.

Here’s an example of how this works. A work injury happens and the injured worker immediately files a workers’ compensation claim. A few months later, the worker speaks to a work accident lawyer who investigates the cause of the accident and determines that there is a viable case against a subcontractor. Several months later, a lawsuit is filed while the workers’ compensation claim is still ongoing. Neither of these claims depend on each other. They are completely separate. In your husband’s case, your husband can file both types of claims, or he can file one, or the other, or he can file none.

Statute of Limitations Laws

It’s critical to note that statute of limitations laws limit the time your husband has to file a lawsuit. In most states, and in most types of cases, that time limit is 2 years from the date of the accident. Every state has its own statute of limitations laws, which vary depending on the type of accident.

Also, there are some exceptions to the 2 year period. However, in most cases involving a work accident, the statute of limitations expires 2 years from the date of the accident. Unfortunately, 2 years is a very short time, in terms of filing a lawsuit. In complex cases, an investigation may take months.

Before making any decisions, statute of limitations issues should be assessed by a qualified lawyer. Time is not on your side.

Related: Financial Compensation in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey Work Accident Lawsuit

Your Legal Rights – A Spouse’s Right (Loss of Consortium)

Spouses of injured workers often have legal rights to compensation as well. These are derivative claims because they come from the injured party’s claim and are known as loss of consortium claims. These types of claims may be made in cases where the injured worker’s injury is so serious that it impacts the relationship between the worker and his or her spouse. Under common law, a loss of consortium claim was intended to compensate the spouse for the injury to the relationship, the lack of comfort, society and companionship caused by an accident or injury.

Please visit our work injury law library for more info. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. (866) 641-0806 or Click To Call

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