Every year in the US, there are nearly 3 million injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace.
Although the majority of these are nonfatal, they can still result in pain, suffering, lost wages, and financial hardship.
Were you injured at your place of employment? If so, a workplace injury lawyer can advise you on your rights and the best course of action for your case.
What if workers’ comp isn’t meeting your needs? Can you sue your employer outside of workers’ comp? Read on to learn more.
What Workers’ Comp Covers
Workers’ comp benefits vary by state, industry, and the size of the business you work for.
In general, a workers’ comp claim should cover these things:
- Medical costs, doctor’s visits, and hospital bills
- Treatment costs related to your injury
- Reimbursement for travel to medical facilities
- Lost wages (generally 66%-80% of normal wage for up to 6 months)
There’s one catch, though: by accepting a workers’ comp settlement, you give up your right to sue your employer.
This is true regardless of whether there are complications or your condition worsens in the future.
Does that mean you should reject a workers’ comp settlement and sue your employer directly? Not necessarily.
When to Sue Your Employer
Here are 5 scenarios where it may be possible to sue your employer.
1. Your Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance
Business owners in nearly every state are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If for some reason your employer does not, you have the option of filing a lawsuit in a civil claims court.
The catch? While workers’ comp covers you no matter who was at fault, you’ll need to prove your employer was directly responsible for your injury. A workplace injury lawyer can help you with this.
2. Your Employer Intentionally Harmed You
Can you prove that your employer deliberately intended to harm you? If so, you could bring a lawsuit against the company.
Keep in mind that even gross negligence isn’t enough. After all, these types of cases usually involve physical aggression or assault.
3. You’re Injured On-the-Job by a Third Party
If you’re injured by a co-worker’s reckless or violent behavior, you may be able to sue your employer if he or she was aware of the condition.
Alternately, you may seek a civil lawsuit against the person who injured you.
4. You Were Injured by a Toxic Substance
Asbestos and mesothelioma may come to mind, but these aren’t the only toxic substances that can injure you at the workplace.
If you suffered chemical burns or some sort of poisoning, you may be able to sue your employer for damages you sustained.
5. You Were Injured by a Defective Product
A final scenario is if you were injured by faulty machinery or equipment.
To sue your employer, you’ll have to prove that he or she knew about the defect in the equipment and failed to address the issue. Otherwise, you may be able to bring a lawsuit directly against the manufacturer.
Do You Need a Workplace Injury Lawyer?
Negotiating the world of workers comp and injury lawsuits can be overwhelming on your own. There are almost always exceptions to the rule and loopholes you may not be aware of.
The good news is you don’t have to go through it alone. The right workplace injury lawyer can give you the best advice and ensure you get the highest possible settlement.
Contact our office today to set up a free consultation.