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Can I sue my employer instead of getting workers’ comp?

| Aug 26, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Suffering an injury at work can be devastating for the rest of your life. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may be seriously disabled in the aftermath and potentially unable to work.

In these circumstances, you may receive workers compensation. However, you may wonder if it is possible for you to simply sue your employer instead of claiming workers compensation. According to FindLaw, in the vast majority of cases you are not able to sue your employer for compensation if the employer offers workers’ compensation Insurance.

Why can I not sue?

The reason is that workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault system. Essentially, if you sustain injury on the job, you automatically receive compensation for this, no matter the cause of the injury. In this way, the employer gets to stay out of the courtroom and the injured worker receives the appropriate benefits.

Are there any exceptions to this?

The main exception to the no-fault system is if you believe that your employer deliberately caused you harm on the job. This would give you the ability to bring a case against your employer in civil court as an intentional tort. “Intentional torts” are not limited to physical injuries. You may also bring a case against your employer for mental or emotional anguish, depending on what the circumstances are.

For instance, if you suffered physical abuse at the hands of a coworker or superior, you may be able to sue the employer for battery. Another common reason to sue an employer is for fraud or defamation. These are not covered by traditional workers’ compensation.