Nobody goes into work expecting to end up in the hospital by the end of the day – but it happens. While some workplace accidents seem to come out of nowhere, others could clearly have been prevented with a little extra care or the proper precautions.
If you were seriously injured at work through no fault of your own, can you sue your employer instead of filing workers’ compensation?
Most of the time, workers’ compensation is an injured worker’s only choice
While there are a few exceptions to this rule, workers’ compensation benefits are typically the injured employee’s “exclusive remedy” for their situation. Workers’ comp was actually designed to eliminate time-consuming, resource-draining lawsuits – something that actually both protects businesses from devastating financial losses and gets injured workers the benefits they need much faster.
But, what if the benefits from workers’ compensation aren’t enough to cover your losses? In that situation, it may be worth exploring the possibility of a third-party claim against other parties who may share the fault for your injuries. A third-party claim is a personal injury lawsuit that is handled independent of the worker’s comp system.
Who might be the possible defendant in your case? Many third-party claims involve:
- Motor vehicle drivers: If you were hit by another driver while working roadside construction or driving to a client’s house, you may be able to hold that driver liable for your injuries.
- Property owners: If you fell on a broken step or tumbled down a stairwell because the handrail was loose, the property owner may be held responsible for your losses.
- Contractors: Many companies bring in contractors for different types of jobs. If a repairman left cords strung all across the floor and that caused your fall, you could have a case.
- Repair companies: If the equipment you were using broke in your hands or your truck broke down despite having been recently repaired, the repair company could be at fault.
- Manufacturers: Maybe the equipment that malfunctioned was brand new – and faulty. If so, you could have a product liability claim.
Don’t assume that your workers’ comp is all you can get after a serious workplace accident. Find out more about your legal options so that you can fully protect your family and your future.