Workplace injuries are a harsh reality for many employees, causing physical pain, emotional distress, and financial burdens. Workers’ compensation is typically the primary avenue for seeking compensation. In some instances, employees might have the option to sue their employer beyond the scope of workers comp. Let’s dive into the concept of employer liability for workplace injuries. We’ll explore when employees can pursue legal action beyond the confines of workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation is a system designed to provide swift financial relief to employees injured on the job, regardless of fault. In exchange for these benefits, employees generally forfeit their right to sue their employer for negligence. However, there are exceptions to this rule. This allows injured workers to explore legal recourse when certain conditions are met.
Intentional Harm & Gross Negligence
In cases where an employer’s actions exhibit intentional harm or gross negligence, injured employees might have grounds to sue beyond workers’ compensation. This standard is more stringent than ordinary negligence, requiring the employer’s behavior to be willful, reckless, or malicious.
Lack of Workers Comp Coverage
While most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, there are instances where employers fail to provide this coverage. In such cases, injured employees might be able to sue their employer directly for damages related to their workplace injuries.
Beyond the employer-employee relationship, workplace injuries can also involve third parties. A third party for example could be a manufacturer of fault equipment. If that third-party contributes to an injury, that employee may have the right to sue. The employee can also pursue workers’ compensation benefits too.
Exceptions to The Exclusive remedy Doctrine
The “exclusive remedy” doctrine states that employees generally cannot sue their employer for negligence if workers’ comp benefits are available. However, some jurisdictions have recognized exceptions to this doctrine. This allows employees to sue for additional damages if they can prove that the employer’s actions were particularly egregious or intentional.
Dual Capacity Doctrine
This doctrine allows employees to sue their employer in cases where the employer occupies a separate role beyond that of an employer. For instance, if the employer is also the manufacturer of a defective product that caused the injury, the injured employee might have a valid claim against the employer in that capacity.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file workers’ compensation claims. If an employer takes adverse action against an employee for exercising their workers’ comp rights, the employee may have grounds for a lawsuit related to retaliation.
Wrongful Death Claims
In cases where a workplace injury leads to an employee’s death, surviving family members might be able to sue the employer for wrongful death, especially if the death resulted from the employer’s intentional or grossly negligent actions.
Legal Process of Workers Comp
Suing an employer beyond workers’ comp is a complex legal process that requires a thorough understanding of the law, strong evidence, and skilled legal representation. It’s crucial for injured employees to consult with experienced personal injury attorneys to evaluate the merits of their case and explore their legal options.
While workers’ compensation is designed to provide swift relief to injured employees. There are instances where pursuing legal action beyond workers’ comp is possible. Intentional harm, gross negligence, lack of coverage, third-party involvement, and exceptions to the exclusive remedy doctrine are all factors that can open the door to legal recourse against an employer. As employees navigate the aftermath of workplace injuries, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of their rights and legal options. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney to make informed decisions about pursuing a lawsuit beyond workers’ comp. Shane Gosdis will fight for you. To schedule a consultation call (385) 429-9960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.