You’ve been injured at work—what now? The workers’ compensation system was designed to allow injured workers to get the medical coverage and replacement income they need while they recover from a workplace injury. For some people, though, that isn’t enough. If it seems like a negligent party caused your injuries, you may want to hold them accountable and get additional compensation for what you’ve lost.
Learn more about when you may be able to sue for a workplace injury, and for more in-depth assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, call Thiry & Associates at 251-478-8880.
Circumstances Are Limited
First, it’s important to note that there are limited circumstances in which you can sue someone for an injury that occurred in the workplace. This is an intentional part of the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation benefits employees by allowing them to get compensation without proving someone else’s negligence, but it also protects employers from lawsuits caused by their employees’ or managers’ negligence or malice.
Some states allow employees to sue if their employer or coworker displayed egregious misconduct in causing their injury. Alabama is not one of those states. Even if you can prove that your employer should have had better safety protocols or that a coworker intentionally put you in harm’s way, you cannot sue them.
One circumstance that allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit for a workplace injury is a claim caused by a defective product. Consider, for example, working in a factory. The machine you’re working with has safeguards that automatically turn the machine off when something gets too close to the entrance. Your finger gets too close to the entrance as you try to turn the machine on, but the failsafe does not activate, and your finger gets crushed by the machine.
If you can prove that the machine was defective and that it was responsible for your injuries, you may have a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the product.
If our work puts you in contact with toxic chemicals or substances, you may also be able to file a claim against the manufacturer. Well-known examples include asbestos, silica, and radium. It is crucial to work with an attorney if you have been sickened or injured by a toxic substance, as it can be very challenging to prove a direct tie between exposure to the substance and your subsequent injury. This is particularly true if it’s a chemical that builds up slowly in your system before causing illness.
Third Party Claims
If a third party is involved in your injury, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against them for your expenses. This is relatively common for employees who have to drive as part of their work. Imagine you’re a social worker who drives to clients’ homes to do home checks and interviews. On the way from one house to another, a driver blows through a stop sign and T-bones your car. The car that hit you is not employed by your company or in any way related to your work, so you can file a claim against them for the losses you’ve suffered.
This also includes some premises liability cases. Consider a nurse who does home visits. She visits a client and, on the way back to her car, slips on the iced-over steps of the apartment building. Enough time has transpired between the snowfall and the appointment that the ice should have been taken care of. The nurse may have a claim against the owner of the apartment building.
This circumstance is also present on many construction sites. If your construction site employs independent contractors who are not employed by your company, you may be able to bring a claim against them if they cause your injuries.
Find Out How Thiry & Associates Can Help
Workers’ compensation is a complex area of law, and it can be difficult to know what you’re entitled to and how to get it. We can help. We know that you have obligations to meet, even if you are unable to work because of a workplace injury. We’ll assist you every step of the way in your search for compensation. Call Thiry & Associates at 251-478-8880 or reach out to get started.