Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rights When One Suffers a Work Injury/Raven Electric

Last week's newspaper article had a sad story about a Raven Electric worker who suffered electrocution injuries.  Sometimes these accidents are caused by employer negligence and sometimes by the negligence of others which the law calls "third parties."

Under Alaska's Workers' Compensation Act, Raven Electric is required to provide insurance to pay for any medical treatment, a disability benefit during the time of recovery up to medical stability, and other benefits if there is a permanent injury and recovery is incomplete.  In return for doing this without requiring the injured worker to hire a lawyer, the law prohibits the injured worker from suing the employer for negligence causing the injury.

If the negligence or mistakes of someone other than the employer caused the accident, the injured worker has a right to sue this "third party" for his full losses.   In cases of significant injury, this is important because the worker does not receive full compensation for his injury.  Specifically, the injured worker's disability payment is less than his actual wages, worker's compensation benefits do not pay the injured worker for any loss of future wages if he is unable to return to work because of his injury, and there are no workers' compensation benefits for non-economic losses which most of us refer to as pain, suffering, and forced changes in life.

Alaska's Workers' Compensation Act may have other impacts on the injured worker that go beyond this comment but you have to play your hand smartly when you are the victim of a life-changing tragedy.  See www.