If you’ve been hurt or otherwise suffered unduly in the course of your employment, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should have you covered. However, there may be a number of reasons you consider suing your employer instead. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as taking others to court for something like a personal injury.
The Worker’s Compensation Tradeoff
For the most part, you’re actually prohibited from filing a lawsuit against your employer for an injury you suffered while on the job. When companies take out workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, both parties enter into a tradeoff of sorts. The workers’ compensation is there to cover employees who may get hurt. However, this means that employees can’t file lawsuits against their employers if anything happens. To do so would pay you twice for the injury.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are two very important exceptions to this rule that we need to look at. First, just because your employer has workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t mean you can feel free to injure yourself. (Strange as it sounds, many people have been caught doing this). You also can’t break rules meant to keep you safe or otherwise act irrationally because you think worker’s compensation will save you.
On the other hand, your employer isn’t off the hook in terms of their obligations to staff. They can’t oversee a reckless work environment because they feel safe knowing workers’ compensation will cover them for anything that happens. This also means that there are some times that a company can get sued by their employees, despite the fact that they provide workers’ compensation. These would be examples of intentional torts.
If you get hurt at work and you believe it was the result of intentional behavior on your employer’s part, you can sue them in civil court for an intentional tort. This type of offense doesn’t just refer to intentional physical harm, but non-physical injuries as well.
Some of the most common types of intentional torts are:
• Battery and Assault: either someone struck you or attempted to
• False Imprisonment: you were confined against your will despite your employer having no legal authority
• Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: someone has intentionally caused you emotional trauma
• Fraud: you’ve been lied to and it resulted in some kind of injury
• Defamation: when false statements were made and caused you harm (this includes slander and libel)
• Invasion of Privacy: your private information or photos were shown to a large audience
• Conversion: someone has taken your property as their own
• Trespass: someone entered onto or otherwise used your property despite lacking your permission
Injuries by Third Parties
You can also sue any third parties you think may be responsible for injuring you while on the job. For example, if a piece of equipment malfunctioned and hurt you, workers’ compensation probably wouldn’t cover it unless your employer was somehow at fault. Instead, you’d file a suit against the company that made it.
If you’ve been the victim of any of the intentional torts we mentioned above or you’re not quite sure, call the law office of Ingerman and Horwitz at 1-800-776-4529. With one free consultation, you’ll know exactly where you stand.