WORK INJURY RULE: SUING YOUR EMPLOYER OUTSIDE WORKER’S COMP
You suffered a work injury. Can you receive compensation?
In most cases, the short answer is yes. You can hire an attorney to file a worker’s compensation claim for you. But the lawyer must file the claim in a special court. A court that handles only such matters.
Trouble is, the amount of compensation you receive will likely be less than if you could sue in Superior Court. On the other hand, unlike in Superior Court, you wouldn’t have to prove that the other party was negligent. That is the trade-off.
You Can Sue Anyone Besides Your Employer
However, often someone was negligent in a work injury case. Maybe you were injured by a defective machine. In that case, you can sue the machine’s manufacturer in Superior Court. Or perhaps you were delivering a package at a customer’s premises and fell. If your fall was caused by a dangerous condition that the customer should have prevented, you generally can sue the customer.
These examples are not exclusive. The general rule is that you can bring suit in Superior Court against anyone for negligence, except your employer (or a fellow employee) for a work injury.
You Can Sue Your Employer If It Wilfully Caused a Work Injury
Say something your employer did or didn’t do injured you. Say the employer had to know that its conduct was substantially certain to result in injury to you. If so, you can sue the employer in Superior Court.
Nevertheless, this would be a rare case. Rarely is injury “certain.”
Moreover, there is another requirement. You’d also have to prove that the employer’s conduct was plainly beyond what the law could have contemplated as entitling an employee to recover only under worker’s compensation. In other words, you’d also have to prove that the type of accident involved was beyond the normal risk of injury associated with the job.
If you are ever the victim of a work injury and are unsure about your options, feel free to contact me.
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