If I File for Workers’ Compensation, Can I Sue Anyone Else?
If you have been injured on the job, your employer may have explained that workers’ compensation is your sole source of financial recovery for medical bills and lost wages. You cannot sue your employer in addition to, or instead of, your workers’ compensation claim. And your workers’ compensation claim does not cover damages for pain and suffering. But what if parties other than your employer are responsible for your work-related injury? What are your options?
Collecting for noneconomic and uncovered damages
Only your employer is covered by workers’ compensation. This means that it is possible to claim damages against other parties if they are responsible for your accident. For example, if you were injured by a defective product at your office, you might be able to file a products liability charge against the manufacturer. Or if you use chemicals in your line of work and suffer an injury as a result, you may be able to bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the substance. Or if you are injured in a car accident while on the job, you may sue the person who caused the accident. In each of these cases, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation from your employer for lost wages and medical bills. But to receive punitive damages or damages related to pain and suffering, you need to sue these third parties.
It is tougher to make your case against third parties
With a workers’ compensation claim, you do not have to prove your employer was negligent. You are covered regardless of how the injury happened, so long as it was work-related. In a third-party action, however, you must prove the other party has legal responsibility for your injury and the case is held to the same standards as other personal injury and negligence lawsuits.
Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. serves clients in Lancaster and Central Pennsylvania with workers’ compensation issues. Call for an appointment.