The workers compensation system was established to provide help to workers that became ill or were injured while on the job. Most of the time the injured party is prohibited from filing a lawsuit against their employer for the work-related injury because the employer is considered indemnified by providing the state mandated compensation insurance to all workers.
Injured workers are thought to give up the right to sue their employer in court because they can collect the compensatory insurance benefits guaranteed by the insurance provided by the employer. But that is not always the case. So, when you are wondering can you sue your employer for injury on the job, the answer may be yes – under certain circumstances.
If your employer does not have workers compensation insurance or the insurance is inadequate, you can sue your employer to compensate you. Typically, this type of case involves employer negligence, and once you file the lawsuit, you are obligated to prove that your supervisor’s negligence caused the injury by not protecting your safety or your health. Like a negligence lawsuit, the courts may help you recover damages that can be applied toward your illness or injury, but it is difficult to see the suit as a long-term solution to a serious injury.
A few states allow an employee to sue an employer if the injury is a result of behavior considered reckless or grossly negligent. The claim often refers to the supervisory behavior as an intentional misconduct that caused harm to the employee due to improper working conditions. This misconduct can include lack of safety protocols, improper protective clothing or equipment, or unnecessarily risky work conditions.
Sometimes the injury is the result of the actions of a third party, and the injured worker can take actions to file a civil suit against the negligent or inattentive party. This type of lawsuit is not directed against the injured worker’s supervisor, but rather at another defendant that is responsible for at least part of the victim’s injury. Cases involving independent contractors can also fall under this section because while the workers are not technically employees, if the injury occurs while the party is preforming his or her duties, the injury is generally considered work related.
Remember, although you can not always sue an employer if you are injured on the job, there are three exceptions. If you have questions about a possible suit, contact a workers compensation attorney to help you through the process.