If you get injured at work, you can recover compensation from your employer through workers’ compensation benefits. Employees in every state are covered under both federal and state workers’ compensation laws. However, other than the exceptions we talk about below, you likely won’t be able to file a regular lawsuit for damages from your workplace injury or illness. In this blog, we explain how lawsuits work when it comes to workplace injuries.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is your "exclusive remedy" when you are injured in a work-related accident or suffer an occupational disease. There is an upside to being able to file a workers’ comp claim instead of lawsuit. For one, you can usually receive your benefits faster than if you had to file a lawsuit against your employer. Workers’ comp benefits can pay for your claim-related medical care and reimburse you for the wages you lost while you were unable to work. On the other hand, claims for punitive damages can’t be made in workers’ comp cases like they can in personal injury lawsuits.
When Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Employer?
You can file a lawsuit against your employer in the following situations:
- Your Employer Intentionally Injures You
- Your Employer Doesn’t Have or Lacks Sufficient Workers’ Comp Insurance
If your workers’ compensation claim ends up being denied, you still can’t file a lawsuit against your employer. Instead, you can file an appeal with the agency in charge of workers’ compensation appeals in your state.
Suing Your Employer
If you are eligible to sue your employer, you can seek damages for:
- Lost Wages
- Medical Treatment
- Permanent Impairment
- Pain & Suffering
- Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are usually reserved for particularly heinous behavior on the part of the employer. If you plan to take legal action against your employer, you should consult with an experienced lawyer to discuss how to handle your case. Lawsuits against employers can be very complex, a lawyer who is familiar with workplace injury lawsuits can guide you through the entire legal process.
At the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin, we help injured employees obtain the justice they deserve. Our skilled team of attorneys can collect the evidence you need to prove how your employer intentionally hurt you, or failed to provide you with adequate workers’ comp benefits. Let us fight for you today.
Contact our team of San Jose workers' comp lawyers to set up your free case consultation.