Workers Compensation:

Suing Your Employer

The workers’ compensation system allows an employee to collect benefits for a work-related injury or illness without having to prove fault or negligence on behalf of the employer. Therefore, the injured worker cannot file a separate lawsuit for negligence against the company.

Employees, however, do have the option of suing a third party who may be responsible for the work-related injury. For instance, a chain grocery store driver who was injured in a trucking accident cannot sue his employer. However, the driver may be able to sue the truck manufacturer if the crash was caused by a defective part, such as the brakes. In this case, the employer can receive workers’ compensation benefits from the employer and sue the truck manufacturer in court for additional damages. In addition, if the company did not carry workers’ compensation insurance, the employee can sue the company based on its negligence for the injuries.

Disputed Workers’ Compensation Claims

Typically, workers’ compensation claims are filed through an administrative process, rather than through the courts. Once the administrative process has been exhausted, the employee can appeal the compensation award to a workers’ comp appeal board or court. Appealing a decision can be difficult (and the process varies by state), so the injured worker should retain a workers’ compensation attorney to handle the claim.