Getting hurt at work is a nightmare for a working professional. It can mean time off of work, filling out lengthy accident reports and lost income, to say nothing of the pain and stress of dealing with the injury. Although people in certain professions, like construction or medical care, are at higher risk than others, injuries and illnesses can result from just about any career path or work environment.

If you get hurt on the job, you will likely wind up worrying about how to pay your bills and get the medical care you need to return to your job. In some cases, you may have to face the terrifying reality of not being able to return to work in the future, which can mean significant financial hardship for you and the people you love.

It is common for people to wonder what rights they have after a workplace accident or illness, including whether they can hold their employer accountable for their injuries. Some people believe that if they filed a workers’ compensation claim, they cannot take legal action against their employer. However, the two options are not mutually exclusive. Some people can claim insurance benefits and also bring a civil suit against their employer.

Anyone with a job-related injury or illness can get workers’ compensation

The whole point of the workers’ compensation insurance program is to remove the potential financial burden on employees that could come from getting sick or hurt at work. The benefits you can receive include disability benefits that will cover your lost wages and medical benefits.

Regardless of whether your employer’s business practices factored into your accident, you still have a valid claim to workers’ compensation if the accident happened on the job. However, if you can demonstrate that negligence or lawbreaking on the part of your employer caused the accident, you may be able to pursue civil litigation.

Civil suits can motivate employees to change their practices

Workers’ are the lifeblood of any business. A company relies on its staff to make the goods it sells or provide the services that people want. Unfortunately, many companies skimp on worker protections in order to maximize investor profits.

From inadequate training or understaffing to poorly maintained or outdated safety equipment, or over-regulation violations, there are many ways in which an employer can put their workers at unnecessary risk for injury or illness. They may not change their ways until their current practices cost them too much, possibly because they lost a lawsuit.

If you believe that your employer’s business practices played a role in the circumstances of your injury or illness, discussing what happened with an experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney can help you explore your options.