Can You Sue Your Employer Or A Third Party For A Work Related Injury?


If a job related injury prevents you from working, you often can get workers' compensation payments. This money covers your medical expenses and a portion of your wages.  But, in some cases, you might need to sue to get benefits.

Workers' Compensation Basics

Workers' compensation often pays regardless of who is at fault for the injury.  So, you don't need to prove that your employer caused the illness or accident.  However, when you receive workers' compensation, you agree not to sue your employer.

  • Employers must have coverage

State workers' compensation laws vary. Generally, all employers must have coverage if they have at least one employee. Coverage is mandatory even if the employee is part-time, a seasonal worker, family member or minor.

  • Some employees are excluded

State laws exclude certain employment categories from the workers' compensation insurance requirement. These categories might include, general partners, federal workers, railroad workers or agricultural workers. Employers can forgo the coverage requirement if all employees fall into one of these categories.

Also, in some states, employers with small annual payrolls don't have to get workers' compensation coverage.  For example, employers in Kansas with annual payrolls less than $20,000 are exempt from the state's coverage requirement.

  • Noncompliant employers pay fines

If employers don't carry workers' compensation insurance, they might have to pay fines and penalty charges.  For example, Florida employers who can't show evidence of coverage might pay $1,000 per day.  In New York, employers pay $2,000 for each 10-day period that they're non noncompliant.

Reasons You Might File a Lawsuit

If your employer doesn't carry the coverage, you can sue for benefits if you get hurt on the job.  You might need to start the process with your state's workers' compensation program. 

  • Employer was egregious

You also can sue in civil court if your injuries resulted from your employer's outright and intentional act. In some instances, you can sue even if your employer has workers' compensation insurance.

  • Harm caused by faulty product

If a defective product is the cause of your work-related injuries, you can sue the manufacturer. For example, if you got hurt because a tool didn't work properly, you can sue the company that developed the product. You'll need to prove that the manufacturer knew of the danger but didn't warn your employer. You also can sue third parties if their services cause you harm while you were working.

Call a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Robinson & Kole today for guidance with the workers' compensation system.


9 December 2014

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