Can I Sue My Employer If Hurt at Work?
A workers’ comp client asked me last week, “why can’t I sue my employer when I was injured at work?”. Lawsuits in civil court can take years to resolve. There are all kinds of pitfalls and burdens to meet. It’s kind of like that cave that Indiana Jones had to run out of avoiding arrows, spikes, and giant boulders. So if a worker has no insurance and got hurt at work, the employer could just fire the person, and move on to someone else. The worker would be left to rely on a lengthy court battle, and possibly not receive any health care or treatment for their injuries.
To try and remedy this problem, our legislature passed the workers’ compensation statutes in 1948. Basically, any employer with five or more employees is required to have a policy of coverage for Workers’ Comp. If an employee is injured at work, the employer’s coverage is supposed to immediately jump in and provide treatment and partial pay. The intent, was to try and get the worker prompt treatment and back to work as quickly as possible. However, as a concession to making it easier to get treatment and benefits, the laws took away the right of an injured employee to file a traditional lawsuit against their employer.
It is certainly not a perfect system, and the insurance companies do not always do the right thing. I guess that is why I’m here.
If you have any questions about Wills and Estates or Workers’ Compensation, call me. Most of my practice is tailor made for handling remotely.
Have a great week!
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts."
- Winston Churchill