Suing Outside of Workers’ Compensation: A Guide for Injured Employees

Even if you believe your place of employment is totally safe, you or someone you know may one day sustain workplace injuries that render you unable to earn a living wage for a period of time. You might be under the impression that the only way to receive financial compensation to pay for medical bills and lost wages is to file a workers’ compensation claim. Although that may be appropriate in many cases, there are some specific exceptions to this standard procedure.

Workers’ compensation can provide much-needed benefits to an injured employee, but these claims won’t provide compensation for pain and suffering, nor will they discipline an employer for failing to provide a safe work environment. If you have sustained workplace injuries in any of the following ways, be sure to contact personal injury attorneys in your areas to ask whether suing your employer or other parties might be the best route to take.

You might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for a workplace injury if…

Your employer intentionally hurt you: In many states, an employer’s egregious or intentional conduct that results in workplace injuries can be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. In other words, if your employer purposefully causes your injury (i.e., via some kind of assault or through work responsibilities that are obviously dangerous and led to harm), you may be able to sue them. In some states, you can actually sue your employer if a supervisor or other employee caused your injury. No matter what, the act must be intentional rather than negligent or careless.

You were hurt by a defective product: Equipment manufacturers are under an obligation to alert businesses and/or employees if their products are defective or present a danger. When a manufacturer knows about the situation and/or fails to warn the business or employees about it, they can be sued if someone is injured as a result. Around 95-96% of personal injury cases are settled pretrial, but whether they’re taken to court or choose to settle, the manufacturer would be required to provide compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages if they are found responsible.

Your employer has no workers’ compensation insurance: Almost every state requires businesses to provide workers’ comp coverage (Texas is the exception) and every state has different regulations, especially as they pertain to part-time workers and independent contractors. But your employer could be breaking the law by failing to provide adequate coverage. Some states have funds that provide benefits for injured workers who are employed at companies without coverage. But if your employer is uninsured, you may be able to sue your employer in civil court. However, in order to do this, you will have to prove that your employer was at fault for causing your workplace injuries. Contact reputable personal injury lawyers in your area if your workplace does not have adequate insurance and you have been injured on the job.

You’ve been harmed by a toxic substance: There are all kinds of hazards in the workplace, but chemicals and other toxic substances can cause harm in sneakier ways than say, a slip and fall incident. Substances like radium and asbestos can cause acute (immediate) injuries like burns and poisonings or latent (gradual) injuries like cancer and other long-term health conditions. Latent injuries do tend to be more difficult to prove, but it’s imperative to have legal help in either circumstance. When employees are injured by toxic substances in the workplace, they typically sue the toxic substance’s manufacturer and/or manufacturers of ineffective safety equipment.

While workers’ compensation claims may be the most common way to receive financial benefits following a workplace injury, they aren’t going to be the best choice in every situation. If you have been injured in one of the aforementioned ways, be sure to speak with Mayor Law as soon as possible so we can assess the best course of action for your case.