When Can You Sue After a Workplace Injury?
November 27, 2017
You have probably heard that you cannot sue your employer after you have suffered a workplace injury, and that workers’ compensation is your only remedy. Well, there are five ways circumstances in which you can take legal action aside from workers’ compensation when you have suffered an injury or contracted an occupational disease at work.
1. Your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance.
Employers in Pennsylvania are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee suffers a workplace injury and their employer does not have a workers’ compensation insurance policy, the employer is subject to serious penalties including fines and possible jail time. They will also have to pay all the costs of their employee’s workplace injury including medical expenses, wage loss benefits and other benefits associated with the injury.
2. Your injury was the result of an intentional act or egregious negligence.
If you believe and can find evidence that proves your injury was an intentional act of a personal nature, the employer’s conduct was wrongful, they failed in their duty to protect the employee and other conduct of an egregious nature against the employee. The challenge is that these kinds of actions are difficult to prove.
3. Your injury was a result of the negligence of a third party.
If you were working on a project on a client site when you were injured. There are other parties aside from your employer who may be liable for your injuries including the owner of the property, subcontractors, maintenance and security companies. If the negligence of a third party caused your injury you may be able to take legal action by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
4. Your injury was caused by a defective product.
If your injury was caused by a defective tool or piece of heavy equipment, you may be able to hold the manufacturer of that equipment liable for your injuries and losses by filing a product liability lawsuit.
5. Your injury or illness was caused by toxic exposure
If your injury or occupational disease was a result of exposure to toxic substances at work, you may be able to sue your employer for failing to protect you from those harmful chemicals. In some cases, if your injuries are a result of toxic exposure that occurred because of your employer’s negligence, you may be able to sue your employer directly without going through the workers’ compensation program. This way you will be able to recover for your pain and suffering and in especially egregious cases you can pursue punitive damages.
In these other opportunities for taking legal action after your workplace injury, there will be the opportunity to recover more compensation than you are likely to receive from workers’ compensation given that it only pays a percentage of your salary in wage replacement benefits. In a third-party personal injury lawsuit, you will be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering, which workers’ compensation does not cover.
There is, however, the issue of subrogation. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, who has been paying your medical expenses and your partial wage loss benefits, is going to demand to be repaid from the proceeds of your lawsuit should you prevail. Your Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney from the law firm of Larry Pitt & Associates.
A Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer is prepared to represent you when you have been injured at work or if you are suffering from an occupational disease from workplace exposure. You are welcome to contact Larry Pitt & Associates at 888.PITT.LAW or fill out our contact form today. We serve clients throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.