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Law And Order

Jurisdiction in Workers Compensation Cases Explained

Have you ever wondered how jurisdiction factors into worker’s compensation cases? The rules vary based on the location of the injury. Keep reading to see how

different states treat workers’ compensation cases.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance plan for workers who get injured or sick on the job. Employers pay into it as an insurance fund for those who have a work-related accident or disease.

Many states mandate that employers get workers’ comp if they are in a high-risk industry. Manual labor, trades, and construction are some examples. Other sectors are also required to have coverage depending on the state.

How to Tell Which State Has Jurisdiction:

There can be three types of jurisdiction in a workers’ compensation case:

  • The state where the employee lives
  • The state of the employment contract
  • The state in which the work-related injury occurred.

Rules for workers’ comp jurisdiction are a tricky subject. Every state has slightly fifferent laws about jurisdiction, rates, and deadlines to file a claim.

The State where the Employee Lives and Works

This is the most common place to file a workers’ comp claim. Most people live and work in the same state. The process is straightforward since the contract and location of the injury concern the same state.

The State of the Original Employment Contract

Some accidents may occur when the worker was in another state. This applies when the worker is out of state occasionally. For example, they could be out to check on equipment for a few days every month. In most states, state laws say the state of the original contract has jurisdiction.

An excellent example of this is in trucking. Truck drivers can be in different states for short stretches of time. If a work accident occurs, they should usually file in the state in which they signed their employment contract.

How Can Someone File a Claim in a State They Don’t Reside In?

Some companies have their workers travel across the country. A worker might happen to get injured in one state while they live in another. Other times the company’s headquarters are in another state.

Most states require companies to buy separate worker’s comp policies if their employee is out of state for more than 30 days.

For example, Georgia has one of the nation’s lowest workers’ compensation payout rates. An individual can only receive $675 a week while they are injured. Other states like Illinois have a maximum payout of over $1,100 a week.

Can More Than One State Have Jurisdiction?

In some cases, more than one state can have jurisdiction. The reason is when an employee lives in one state and works in another. They can choose to file their claim in either state. In rare cases, they can file claims in both states.

Why File in One State Over Another?

Some states are more worker-friendly than others. One state may give out more benefits than the other state. For example, under Florida laws, workers may receive up to 67% of their average weekly pay, among other benefits.

This is higher than in most states. Mississippi gives a maximum of $468 per week, for example.

States also have different statutes of limitations. Some states may only give a few years while others give multiple. New Jersey gives contractors and medical providers 6 years to file a claim.

Some workers file for worker’s compensation where the rate is higher. They do this because one state may be more favorable than the other for each claim.

States like Texas don’t require workers’ comp coverage. In other states, the required coverage is very low. Most people who learn this find it surprising.

Can a Worker Sue For Personal Injury?

No filing for workers’ comp protects employers against further damages for the injury. Workers’ comp is designed to give workers a source of income while they recover from their injuries.

Workers’ comp also shields businesses against bankruptcy by barring workers who accepted workers’ compensation to sue.

Injuries that will take longer than a few years to recover from may be better suited for personal injury lawsuits. Personal injury cases allow for emotional suffering damages too.

What’s more, personal injury claims require the employer to be at fault. Worker’s compensation claims do not require any fault. That’s why most people file for workers’ comp since it is easier to receive as they don’t have to prove fault.

Closing Thoughts

Before filing a workers’ comp claim, it is important for a worker to determine the basic facts around the injury. One must determine where it occurred and where the original employment contract was signed.

Then, workers should look at the laws in both of the involved states if more than one jurisdiction applies. One state’s laws will likely be more favorable than the other.

In other cases, state laws require filing the claim in a specific jurisdiction. One must weigh the facts and the laws to select the best option for filing their claim.