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Can You File a Lawsuit Outside Workers’ Compensation?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2014 | Articles, Employment Litigation

If you’ve suffered an injury at work, you might think that the only compensation you will get is from the insurance policy covering your employer for workers’ compensation. Generally, this is true, but there are certain situations in which you could consider suing your employer for damages.

Your Injuries were Caused by a Defective Product

If you were hurt by a tool or machine that is defective, not working properly, or is dangerous in and of itself, you can sue the manufacturer of the tool or machine in question if the company was aware of the issues and didn’t provide sufficient warning. In such situations, the manufacturing company would have to cover the costs of medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

So, if you’ve suffered an injury from working with any equipment or machinery in your place of work, you should consider talking to an experienced attorney to find out what your options are.

Injuries Caused by Toxic Substances

Some chemicals and substances people work with can be highly toxic and lead to injuries and illnesses, either right away or after a while. Generally, if you’ve been injured by a toxic substance—whether the injury is immediately apparent or it takes a while to surface like cancer—you can sue the manufacturer of the toxic substance and the people who produced the safety equipment that malfunctioned.

Injuries Caused by Intentional or Egregious Behavior from Your Employer

If your employer hurt you on purpose, in many states you can sue your employer for more money than the amount you would receive from worker’s compensation. So, for example, if you are arguing with your employer and he pushes you so hard that you fall and hurt yourself, you could potentially sue for damages.

Some states will also allow you to sue if your employer does something that is so reckless or negligent that it causes you harm. Such behavior is considered to be akin to doing intentional harm.

Note that for you to be able to file a lawsuit in any of these cases, the person who inflicted the harm has to be the owner of the company. Ideally, you should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether or not you can sue.

If the Company doesn’t have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy

If the company you work for doesn’t have worker’s compensation insurance, you could sue them for damages. While you can potentially get more money than you could through the insurance, it’s also your responsibility to prove the employer was at fault for your injury, which is something you don’t have to do with the worker’s compensation system.

Injuries Caused by Someone Else

In some cases, a worker could be injured by a third party who is not the employer, in which situation the worker could sue the person in question for damages. Thus, if someone else’s intentional or negligent behavior causes you an injury, then you could file a law suit. However, you should consider talking with a lawyer to determine what your rights are.

At Makarem & Associates, our attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with a variety of workers’ compensation cases. We know this arena very well. You can email us at [email protected] or our phone number is 310.312.0299 if you want to discuss your best legal options.