Maine workers’ compensation law was designed to prevent the need for employee lawsuits over every little incident, from a waitress spilled soup burn to a construction worker’s traumatic brain injury after falling from a ladder. Employers generally provide these benefits to workers as a compromise to protect themselves from the expense of litigation. However, there are certain instances where it is better for an employee to sue his or her employer to gain acceptable compensation.
Can I Sue My Employer for Workplace Injuries?
Since 1976, Hardy, Wolf & Downing personal injury attorneys have been helping clients file lawsuits when:
- Employers are deliberately negligent in safety standards, thus leading to hazardous work conditions.
- Outside contractors, suppliers, or other third parties expose workers to a work hazard.
- Employees were injured by a defective product, whose manufacturer is liable.
- Employees were sickened or injured by a toxic substance on the job.
- Employers broke the law and do not carry sufficient workers’ compensation insurance.
- A heated argument results in serious, intentional injury.
While worker’s comp claims may be quicker and easier to process in this state, a Maine workplace injury lawyer can help you exercise your full legal rights and gain maximum compensation, where allowed by law. You may be entitled to compensation above and beyond your medical bills and lost income. You may also receive allowances for disability-related home modifications, meal and maid services, loss of consortium, wrongful death, loss of future productivity, pain, and emotional distress.
What Will a Mainer Receive Through Workers’ Comp?
If you are trying to decide whether to file a workers’ compensation claim or file a personal injury lawsuit, consider this:
- In Maine, workers’ comp benefits are paid at 80% of your after-tax income, with a cap of 634.13 a week. Compared to other New England states that offer up to $1,250 a week, this cap is very low.
- In Maine, workers can receive benefits for permanent injuries for no more than 10 years.
- Workers in Maine only have 30 days to report a claim to the Workers’ Compensation Board. Otherwise, the claim can be denied.
- If a Maine employer disputes a claim, it could take upwards of a year to resolve the dispute through the Workers’ Compensation Board.
The most recent workers’ compensation law (as passed in 2012) “leave(s) injured workers to fend for themselves against corporations and insurance companies with full-time lawyers on staff,” according to Steel Workers’ union member Emery Deabay, who wrote into the Bangor Daily News. A consultation with a Hardy, Wolf and Downing attorney specializing in workplace injuries is free of charge, so it often pays to get a second opinion on your legal options.
Can a Mainer Who Received Worker’s Comp Still Sue?
When a serious injury occurs, many people wish to receive money to begin paying bills right away and are urged by their employers to file a worker’s comp claim. Yet, for some injuries, the amount received is grossly inadequate – especially if there has been a disabling injury or a death. In these cases, the employer cannot be sued. However, a good personal injury attorney may be able to find a third party defendant – other than the principal employer – whose negligence contributed to the injury. Sometimes maintenance personnel on construction sites or manufacturers of defective products may be named in Maine personal injury lawsuits.
Sympathetic jury awards Maine worker $100,000 for pain and suffering
In 2005 workplace injury lawsuit, a 43-year-old Maine Maritime Academy employee suffered a spinal cord injury while working on a tugboat that left him a paraplegic. In the lawsuit, Bruce Falconer contended that the New York-based firm that owned the tugboat was negligent in failing to provide safety rails around the hatch opening he fell down. After 15 days of deliberation, the jury awarded a total of five million dollars — $100,000 for pain and suffering, $2.6 million for future medical costs, and $2.4 million for lost and future wages. The total amount was later reduced to $3.25 million when it was discovered that Falconer was partly responsible for his injuries.
Some law firms accept the first settlement offer that comes across the table, but the Law Firm of Hardy, Wolf & Downing is prepared to fight for maximum compensation in lawsuits involving workplace injuries.
Call our personal injury lawyers, serving Bangor, Lewiston, Auburn & Portland, Maine.
Hardy, Wolf & Downing personal injury lawyers bring more than two decades of legal acumen to your case. We have an in-depth knowledge of personal injury law in particular, as well as a vast network of experts on hand to help prove employer liability. Past experience with the Maine Attorney General’s office and the federal Department of Justice make us uniquely qualified to pursue your case. Call 1-800-INJURED for a free consultation.
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