Thanks to the workers' compensation system, there are not many scenarios where you can sue your employer when you get injured in the workplace. This system was established as a trade-off and employees who are entitled to receive compensation don't have the right to sue the employer if they accept the payment.
The system is known as a no-fault system. Its main advantage to workers is that it entitles them to receive compensation regardless of who's liable for the accident that caused the injury. The downside is that it also prevents them from suing their employer even if the injury resulted from the employer's negligence. However, there are two main exceptions.
Intentional Harm Inflicted by Employer
If your employer does something with the intention of causing you harm, you can sue them for compensation. This exception is expressly limited to situations where an employer takes a direct action with the intent of causing harm to you. For instance, if your employer kicked you down a flight of stairs or punched you in the face, there is no doubt that the intention is to cause you harm. Being injured due to carelessness doesn't make the cut.
Insufficient or Non-Existent Compensation Insurance
In most states, employers are required to have some form of workers' compensation insurance. The only exception is Texas where employers may have no compensation insurance. However, even where the employer has compensation insurance, the maximum amount you're able to claim may be limited and not sufficient to cover the costs incurred due to an occupational disease or work-related injury.
If your employer has no or insufficient workers' compensation insurance, you have a right to sue them since this is in contravention of the law. Workers' compensation not only covers the cost of treating the injury but should also cater for you if you're unable to work as a result of the injury.
Injuries Caused by Third Parties
In addition to the above exceptions, there is a special case where you can sue a third party but not your employer for an injury that has occurred in the workplace. If you're injured by another contractor with whom you share a work site or if you're injured due to a mistake by an equipment manufacturer, you can have your attorney sue the third party.
If you receive legal compensation, you'll have to pay back what was paid by workers' compensation to the employer and/or insurance company. The two can also be enjoined in your suit. Contact a workers' comp lawyer, like those at Annunziata Albert, to get more information and figure out the best ways to maximize your insurance claim or lawsuit.