One of the first reactions that many people have when they are injured on the job is “when can I sue my employer for this incident?” While there are cases where you are allowed to do that, if you are covered by workers’ compensation (and nearly all workers are) then you probably won’t have the ability to sue your employer. Workers’ compensation functions as a “no fault” system. Thus, you essentially give up your ability to sue your employer on the condition that they supply you with workers’ comp.
Now, there are certain circumstances where this arrangement goes out of the window. For example, if your workplace accidents involve an “intentional tort” — that is, your employer intentionally caused you to harm or knowingly allowed your injury to happen — then you can sue your employer. Circumstances such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, fraud and defamation qualify here.
Another example that allows you to sue in the wake of a workplace accident is if a third party was involved in the workplace accident. If that party caused or was involved in the accident, you are free to sue that third party.
The last example we’ll discuss today is if you are wrongfully denied workers’ comp benefits or if your employer tries to end workers’ comp benefits early. In these cases, you have the option to pursue civil litigation against your employer. However, in any of these cases, you should consult with an attorney to make sure your case proceeds efficiently and appropriately.