If you're an employee who's been injured on the job, chances are you won't be allowed to sue for personal injury. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. Here are four ways to tell whether personal injury or workers' compensation is the right choice in your situation.
1. Check whether any of the exceptions apply to you
Employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance, but they do so on the understanding that employees will not be allowed to sue them. However, in unusual circumstances, you may still be able to sue. Grounds for a personal injury claim against your employer include:
- Intentional harm, whether physical or emotional
- Intentional invasion of rights, including defamation and invasion of privacy
- Denial of a workers' compensation claim
Any of these circumstances may allow you to also bring a lawsuit for personal injury against the employer in question.
2. Find out about your employer's insurance
In the cases above, you're allowed to bring a personal injury case as well as filing a workers' compensation claim. However, if your employer is required to have workers' compensation insurance and doesn't, you can sue them for the entire amount that you would have expected in an insurance settlement as well as for the additional harm incurred.
3. Identify any third parties who were at fault
Your employer would much prefer it if you sued somebody else. In addition, because there aren't the same restrictions on suing a third party that there are on suing your employer, you'll find it much easier to do. So if someone other than your employer caused the harm that you're filing a workers' compensation claim for, even though the injury happened while you were on the clock, you may want to sue this third party as well.
4. Consult your attorney
Legal matters are often complex and abstract, so it's easy to make a mistake based on an incomplete understanding of a situation. Your attorney will help you identify the relevant factors of your circumstances that dictate what you can and cannot do, and will help you make the most of any claims you file.
Use these four items to help you discern the best way to handle your workplace injury situation. Remember, workers' compensation insurance is in place for this very reason, so take full advantage of your employer's workers' compensation while you consider whether or not to go for a personal injury case as well. Contact a local lawyer, like Greg S. Memovich, for more help.