Workers’ Compensation: Can I Sue My Employer Instead?

In most cases, you may not be allowed to sue your employer. The workers’ compensation system was put in place to insure employees in case of accidents and injuries related to the performance of their work. At the same time, it also protects the employers from being sued because of such injuries.

However, workers’ compensation does not stop an employee from filing a lawsuit against the employer for intentional tort or any injury that the employee sustained because of the employer’s act with the intention of actually harming the employee. There are also remedies for employees who have suffered discrimination or emotional distress.

Even if the particular case of an injured employee may prevent them from filing a lawsuit against their employer, they are not prevented from pursuing third parties, or those other than their employer, who they think has significant contribution to their injuries, such as manufacturers of faulty machines. Some states would require employees who sued third parties to reimburse the employer for any workers’ compensation received. Another option is for the employer to become a direct party to the employee’s lawsuit against the third party in order to collect damages.

Can I File a Lawsuit if My Employer Disputes My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

You can file a lawsuit only if all administrative avenues have been exhausted. If you have gone through all the possible administrative process and no settlement has been reached, then you can take the case to the workers’ compensation appeal board or court. If no such court exists, or if they reached a decision that you are not happy about, then that’s the time that the case may be brought to the civil court. Different states may have different laws regarding this, so consult your state’s workers’ compensation laws or an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

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