If You Claim Workers’ Compensation Can You Sue Anyone Else?
If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation ensures that you are not left without means of support after a workplace accident. Workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy against your employer– this means you cannot sue your employer in addition to (or instead of) your worker’s compensation claim for damages.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not cover all the damages you may sustain from your workplace accident. For example, workers’ compensation does not cover non-economic damages like pain and suffering. However, in some situations, it is possible to collect non-economic and other uncovered damages in a third party suit.
Only your employer is covered by workers’ compensation – it is possible to claim damages against other parties responsible for your accident
If your injury was caused by a faulty piece of machinery, or if you had a car accident with a non-employee while driving as part of your work, you may have a third party claim apart from your claim for workers’ compensation. A third party claim is possible when someone other than your employer shares the legal blame for your accident. So, in the examples above, you may have a third party claim against the manufacturer of the machinery or against the other driver.
Negligence and third party suits
With a workers’ compensation claim you do not have to prove that your employer was negligent. Workers’ compensation is designed to protect both employers and employees, whatever the cause of the injury or accident. With a third party action, however, the case is examined by the same standards as any other personal injury lawsuit you might bring to court. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, which covers you regardless of fault, a third party claim can only be brought against someone who has legal responsibility for your injury.
The facts surrounding workplace accidents are usually complex, and it is not always obvious who is to blame and if there are any third parties that should be held responsible. It is smart to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to learn which sorts of claims and damages you are entitled to. The lawyers at Moga Law Firm have experience with both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims of all sorts. Contact us for a free consultation.
Scot Thomas Moga, a dedicated attorney in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties who represents clients in the many types of personal injury, workers’ compensation and estate planning cases.