If you’re injured on the job, you’ll probably recover compensation for your injury through your company’s workers’ compensation program. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is the exclusive fix for a work-related accident, occupational disease, or traumatic injury. This means, however, you cannot file a regular lawsuit for damages related to a workplace injury. The difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a civil claim is that you cannot recover any type of punitive damages. Most workers’ compensation is tired into state laws and is determined by your wages. Learn if your injury qualifies for a civil lawsuit.
Civil Suit Timelines
To file a civil suit against your employer, the circumstances have to be specific. You can file a lawsuit if one of the following situations has occurred:
- Your employer intentionally hurt you: To sue for intentional harm, your employer must have taken some type of action by intentionally and directly harming you. This does not mean your injury was caused due to your employer’s negligence in protecting your health and safety. Carelessness, even extreme, does not equal intentional harm.
- Your employer’s workers’ comp insurance is insufficient or nonexistent: Unless you’re in Texas, your state requires workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer provides insufficient or no workers’ compensation insurance, you have grounds to recover damages from your work-related injury. It’s important to note if your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you still may not have grounds to file a civil suit. Instead, file an appeal with your state’s administrative agency that handles workers’ comp claims.
Suing Outside of Worker’s Comp
If you’re able to file a civil lawsuit against your employer, you may be able to receive lost wages, reimbursement for medical treatment, compensation for permanent impairment, and you may be able to sue for pain, suffering, and punitive damages. Specific documents need to be filed for a personal injury suit. You will file the personal injury lawsuit in the state where you live, where your employer is located, or where the injury occurred. Personal injury suits can be complicated, so it’s recommended that you hire an attorney to assist with your case, especially if your home state and your work state are different. Statute of limitations deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits can be short, sometimes as little as one year, so act sooner rather than later.
Proving Your Case
Be prepared to prove to a judge that your employer intentionally hurt you or your workers’ compensation was not sufficient. To establish your claim, you must prove you sustained an illness or injury at work through legal evidence and that your employer did something wrong to cause this injury. You must also show the court any damages you incurred because of the injury: medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for mental or physical impairment.
Leav & Steinberg LLP has helped clients’ personal injury cases for over 20 years. With premier lawyers and expert customer service, Leav & Steinberg caters to your case’s unique needs and works to provide excellent client care. Our team handles a wide range of practice areas, including car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, and more. Contact us today for a free consultation.