If you are hurt through negligence on the part of your employer, you may feel like you should take them to court to hold them accountable for their actions. But you also want to file a claim for workers’ compensation if you are injured and miss time from work. So today, we’re going to talk a little bit about the differences between suing your employer after a work injury versus filing for workers’ compensation.
Work Comp Vs. Lawsuit
If your employer fails to keep you safe at work and you get injured, you’re going to want to be compensated. You’ve also likely seen some of the payouts from those crazy lawsuits over spilled hot coffee or a burglar suing a homeowner after the robber suffered injuries. If so, you might be thinking that you’ll be able to get a lot more money if you just sue your employer instead of filing for workers’ compensation.
However, it’s not that simple. See, workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect the employee, but workers’ compensation insurance is also built to protect the employer. Workers’ compensation protects employers from being sued by their employees, much like it still offers compensation to the worker even if the employee was completely responsible for their injury. It’s a two-way street that offers protections for both parties.
When Can Employees Sue?
However, just because you can’t file for workers’ compensation and sue your employer for your injury at the same time doesn’t mean that you can never file a personal injury suit against your employer. There are three main situations where you can sue your employer for a work injury.
You believe the injury was intentional – Now, intentional and at fault/negligent are two different arenas, but if you believe you’ve been intentionally hurt or mislead, you may have a case. If your boss punched you or lied about fixing faulty equipment and it led to an injury, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit instead of a work comp claim.
Your employer doesn’t have work comp insurance – As we mentioned above, workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect a company from being sued, but if they don’t have insurance, you are within your rights to file a lawsuit. This lawsuit could cover your medical bills, as well as punitive damages. Your employer would also be in big trouble with the state.
Third party injuries – Along a similar vein, you can also bring a lawsuit against a third party in some situations. If you were hurt through a faulty machine due to poor manufacturing and not operator error, you may be able to sue the manufacturer. Also, if you were intentionally attacked by a co-worker, you can bring a suit against them, but if the injury was unintentionally caused by a co-worker, you’ll only be able to file for workers’ compensation.
So if you are confused about which route to pursue, or you just want to talk with an attorney about your options, set up a free case evaluation with Dean Margolis today.
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