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Can You Still Sue Your Employer After Workers’ Compensation?

September 13, 2016 Workplace Injuries

If you’re injured on the job, your first step should be to explore the possibility of workers’ compensation. Assuming that your employer has workers’ compensation insurance coverage, this is always going to be an available option. When it comes down to it, workers’ compensation coverage can be good for recovering damages; it is an immediate payment that usually covers expenses due to:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent injuries or disabilities

personal injury - accident injuryIt is important to consider, however, that workers’ compensation does not cover everything. It is only intended to reimburse you for expenses that you sustained as a result of your injury. Workers’ comp will not help you recover, for example, any damages that resulted from pain, suffering, or trauma beyond your injury; it is intended to reduce disputes between employers and employees in the effort to avoid the courtroom. As a result, you generally cannot sue your employer or any of your coworkers for your injuries.

Do You Deserve More Compensation for Your Work Injuries?

Before moving forward, know that deviating from workers’ compensation is very difficult–though this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you feel that you deserve compensation that exceeds those offered by workers’ comp, you do have other avenues to explore. The key to pursuing an alternative route is knowing the exact cause of injury.

Any of the following can be found at fault and sued outside of workers’ compensation:

1. A Negligent Employer

As a general rule, you’re not going to be able to sue your employer. Most of the time, workers’ compensation cases are a matter of negligence on the part of the employer, and workers’ compensation is the only way you can get damages. However, there are exceptions to the rule. If an employer intentionally sets out to harm an employee and this can be proved, then the employer can be sued.

2. Other contractors or safety managers

Even if your employer can’t be sued, there might be other people at your job site that share liability. If there are other contractors working with you and their actions end up provably causing your injury, you might have a claim against them. Large construction sites will have a safety manager whose job is to make sure that everything is safe before and while employees are working. If they have not done their job properly, there could be some compensation available on that front.

3. An Equipment Malfunction

Your employer might not be at fault at all. You could have been injured by the equipment you were working with or around at the time of your accident. This could happen if you work around heavy machinery on a factory floor, especially if the machine wasn’t built properly. In cases like this, it’s possible to sue the machinery’s manufacturer, the machine’s designer, or anyone working on the machine during its construction process—such as someone who heat-treats equipment.

4. Improper Safety Precautions

As a worker, you try to do everything you can to make sure that you stay safe on the job. Accidents can happen, though, especially if the proper measures aren’t taken to prevent them. If there isn’t sufficient guarding around the machine or the instructions and warnings about its use are unclear—and this led to your injury—there could be grounds to sue.

Consult an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney

The odds are high that workers’ compensation will be the primary or only option available to you if you’ve been hurt at work. However, it never hurts to get to know the laws, rules, and regulations surrounding workers’ compensation and workplace injuries. If you’ve been injured on the job and want to explore your options, the personal injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham may be able to set you on the right path. Call our office today at 317.920.6400 or fill out a form online to schedule your free consultation.

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