Regardless of the nature of the business, employees expect some assurance that their work environment is reasonably safe and hazard-free. However, workplace injuries happen even with safety practices in place. If it happens to you or someone you know, consulting work injury lawyers immediately to clarify your course of action is advisable. The Limits of Workers’ Compensation Benefits The workers’ compensation program ensures that workers are compensated for acute injuries suffered on the job, long-term ailments developed as a cumulative result of working in a particular environment and any acquired illnesses traceable to occupational hazards. The program compensates workers for medical treatment and vocational retraining if needed. Workers’ compensation benefits extend to replacement of lost wages in cases of temporary and permanent disabilities as well as survivor benefits for job-related wrongful death cases. Workers’ compensation benefits do not include punitive damages and reparation for pain and suffering. Injuries due to Exposure to Toxic Substances Industries that handle toxic substances including benzene, asbestos and a host of hazardous materials should have stringent safeguards in place to protect workers. However, acute injuries such as burns and poisoning still happen. These incidents are easy to document and prove because legal action typically comes soon after the incident. Contact a personal injury attorney to know your legal rights. Long-term exposure to toxins can lead to debilitating illnesses with symptoms that are not immediately apparent such as those with asbestos-related illnesses. You will need the help of work injury lawyers with expertise in your case to research your work history and prove causation. The manufacturers of toxic substances, makers of safety gear designed to protect workers and intermediaries who sold the product can be held liable for workplace injuries related to exposure to toxic materials. Injuries due to Defective Products and Equipment The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates workplace safety practices and monitors businesses for compliance. If you are injured by defective equipment, the manufacturer can be held liable for your injuries. Even if the product was not defective, manufacturers can still be found liable for failure to caution users of the possible dangers of using the equipment. Dangerous machines can cause lacerations, amputations or mutilated hands and fingers. When you lose a limb or the use of your arms or legs, you may require extended rehabilitation, and still end up shifting careers entirely. Seek the advice of a work injury attorney who will help you navigate the complicated process of a product liability lawsuit. Injuries due to Intentional and Callous Acts When employers or their representatives put workers in a dangerous environment without providing appropriate training, safety equipment and emergency plans, these entities may be held liable for workers’ injuries. In these cases, companies can be sued outside the workers’ compensation system so that employees may receive appropriate payments for personal injuries and punitive damages. Employers who fail to address safety issues brought to their attention may be held responsible for injuries that can be traced to their inaction. Failure to conduct OSHA-compliant risk assessments are grounds for compensation claims by injured workers. Injuries Caused by a Third Party If you are injured on the clock but the cause of the injury is not your employer, toxic substances or defective equipment, a personal injury attorney can sue the third party on your behalf and collect damages to pay for your rehabilitation and lost wages. Injuries suffered from vehicular accidents while you happen to be traveling for work may be compensable by the other party’s insurance if your attorney can show that they caused the incident. You may be able to collect damages for workplace injuries even if the incident is not recent. Consult a personal injury attorney to examine your options.