Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation and Sue My Employer?

The US Department of Labor reports thousands of worker injuries each year. If you have been hurt on the job, you have a right to collect some type of benefit for your pain. You may have some confusion about workers’ compensation as opposed to a different type of financial relief such as a personal injury settlement. You may be wondering if you can collect workers’ compensation and still sue your employer. A workers’ compensation lawyer can provide you with legal advice, but here is some general information that might be helpful:

Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s compensation is a benefit that most employers have to provide to their employees. It provides a percentage of the workers’ wages to the worker while they are recovering from an injury sustained during the course of their employment. Injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation may include:

  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Back injuries
  • Illnesses
  • Mental and emotional distress

A Personal Injury Settlement

A personal injury settlement is a lump sum of money that a person gets when his or her injuries happen because of someone else’s negligence. Examples of common personal injury cases are:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Animal attacks
  • Slip and fall occurrences
  • Medical malpractice

Some personal injuries can occur on the job, and the victim must handle them differently from the way that he or she would handle a workers’ compensation case.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Suits

  • A workers’ compensation case is usually cut and dry. The worker does not have to establish who caused their injury. All the victim has to do is establish that they were involved in work activities when the harmful incident occurred. The person must also make sure that they file the injury claim within the specified time frame and visits the doctor for supporting paperwork. Under normal circumstances, the employee must accept worker’s compensation and cannot sue their employer for causing their injury.
  • A personal injury suit is a negligence case, which means the affected person must prove that the injury occurred because someone else was negligent.  However, you would be suing another party for personal injury and also filing a workers’ compensation claim.  An example of this in a workplace scenario is:
  • A delivery driver is hit by another driver.
  • A traveling salesman gets hurt at the hotel they’re staying at for a broken elevator or a door that closes on them.

Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation and Sue My Employer?

The answer to that question is usually no. Workers’ compensation programs stipulate that a person who files a claim cannot sue the employer. In most cases, the employee has to choose between the two types of coverage. The decision-making process is usually easy, however, particularly with the guidance of a personal injury or worker’s compensation lawyer.

Schedule an Appointment with a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer

You can request a complimentary and confidential consultation with a worker’s compensation attorney who can put your case in perspective for you. Tell him or her about your circumstances and resulting injury. The attorney can advise you whether or not you have grounds for a lawsuit and if you may qualify for worker’s compensation benefits instead.