When Can You Sue For a Workplace Injury?

Getting hurt at work typically results in the filing of a workers’ compensation claim in order to be compensated for medical expenses and any other costs incurred due to the incident. However, it is possible for an employee to retain the right to sue an employer when a workplace injury is sustained. Understanding the answer to “When can you sue for a workplace injury?” is a matter of learning more about exceptions to standard workers’ comp procedures.

Reasons For a Lawsuit

Workers’ compensation provides you with financial compensation that is usually kept minimal to pay only for easily-calculated medical expenses and lost wages. However, long-term injury or illness related to workplace accidents could result in a permanent reduction to your quality of life. The pain and suffering associated with being injured in the workplace is not covered by workers’ comp.
Fortunately, you are given the opportunity to file a lawsuit in special circumstances that lead to pain and suffering. Before you decide to file a lawsuit against your employer, evaluate the situation to determine who is at fault in the situation that led to your injury. A product manufacturer or even a third party who is present at your workplace may be liable for your injury.

Defective Products

Manufacturers may be aware of a dangerous defect in their products. If a manufacturer fails to warn businesses about this defect, they may be held liable when a worker is injured on the job. For example, a known malfunction that could trap a worker’s arm in a machine would allow the injured employee to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.

If the manufacturer is found to be liable, the worker would be able to collect compensation based on the expense of the injury and any long-term physical or emotional damage sustained. Medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering compensation could be collected.

Toxic Substances

Toxic substances that are used in the workplace could cause injuries that are acute or latent in nature. Acute injuries appear shortly after exposure to the substance and are typically short term. Latent injuries could take years to develop but can last a lifetime.

For example, it has been established that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma. This cancer can take decades to develop, and workers are usually eligible for workers’ compensation when negative effects of exposure to the toxic substance are felt. However, manufacturers of products containing asbestos may be liable for long-term illnesses caused by exposure to these products.

Employer Liability

Employers are typically protected from lawsuits when workers’ compensation is involved, but an employer may be held liable when their actions are reckless, negligent or malicious in nature. Employers that injure an employee during an argument can be sued by an employee in most states.

Injuries sustained when an employer fails to follow safety procedures could allow the injured employee to sue the employer. For example, an employee injured by a chemical spill that occurs because a manager was rushing through work tasks may have the right to sue for compensation.

Third Parties

Third parties could injure a person while the injured party is acting as an employee. Employees who deliver goods for a living may be injured in an accident while working. The driver of the other vehicle may be liable for injuries sustained by an employee.

Getting Help With Workers’ Compensation

Understanding your right to file a lawsuit when you are involved in a workplace accident can be confusing. Many instances of workplace accidents only give an employee the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits, but special circumstances could allow an employee to retain the right to sue. The best way to protect your rights when it comes to workplace injuries is to hire an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer like those at The Law Office of Samuel Fishman to represent you.