The workers’ compensation system allows injured employees to collect benefits when they are hurt on the job, as well as protects employers from liability for damages. In most cases, workers are not permitted to sue their employer for work injuries.
When workers can receive just compensation, there may not be a reason for an employer lawsuit. Yet, suing an employer may be appropriate in some cases — there are specific instances in which injured workers are allowed to sue their employer.
Is Your Employer Uninsured?
Lawsuits against employers may be considered in situations where the funds available to the injured worker are not sufficient to cover their damages. In some cases, this may be because the employer is not insured at all. Almost all employers in the United States are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer is illegally uninsured, you can sue them for your injury damages.
Gross Negligence or Malicious Intent
Although an employer may be insured, the coverage that is provided may not be sufficient because of the level of negligence involved. There are many workers’ compensation cases in which employers are negligent, but an employee can only sue for an injury in cases of gross negligence. The term “gross negligence” defines situations in which an employer is so careless that their actions are considered beyond typical negligence. Gross negligence is a vague term — examples are difficult to identify in advance and there are many situations that could be considered as gross negligence. Many cases involve instances in which the employer is aware of a danger but fails to protect their workers from the known hazard.
Work injury cases involving gross negligence may include:
- An employer failing to provide essential safety equipment
- Toxic exposure cases in which the employer was aware of the contaminant
- Safety inspection and maintenance oversight
An injured worker can also sue their employer if malicious intent caused their injuries. If you can prove that your employer purposefully intended to hurt you, an employer lawsuit would be viable. This may include instances of assault or cases of intentional oversight.
If you were injured at work, contact Whiteman, Hamilton & Conklin, LLC. Our legal team can guide you through your workers’ compensation claim, and can advise you in cases in which an employer lawsuit may be appropriate.To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, send us a message or call (404) 800-4661.