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Can you sue your employer instead of recovering workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2020 | Construction Accidents

Construction accidents can result in severe and even disabling injuries, a fact you may understand all too well if you were involved in such an incident. Though workers’ compensation may help you cover the cost of medical bills and a portion of your lost wages, it may not be sufficient enough to compensate you for the ongoing issues you may experience. You may wonder if, instead of collecting workers’ compensation, you can sue your employer instead.

In most cases, the law bars employees who are eligible for workers’ compensation from suing their employers. This is because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in which employees forfeit their rights to sue in exchange for guaranteed compensation in the event of an accident, illness or injury. However, as FindLaw explains, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

Suing for an intentional tort

If you believe that your employer intentionally hurt you, you may be able to recover compensation outside of workers’ comp. To do so, you would file a claim for an intentional tort. Though many torts result in physical injury, several do not. The most common intentional torts are as follows:

  • Battery
  • Assault
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Defamation
  • Fraud
  • Trespass

If you sustain physical, emotional or financial damages as a result of any of the above, you may be able to sue your employer or a third party and recover damages outside of workers’ compensation.

Suing a third party for injuries

It is not uncommon for a single construction site to contain multiple contractors and workers from several companies. If your injury stemmed from the negligent or reckless conduct of a third party, you have the option to sue that party for damages. However, be aware that if you win the lawsuit, you must repay whatever workers’ comp benefits you did receive. Alternatively, your employer and its insurer may become parties to your lawsuit to recover what it paid for themselves.