Workers’ Compensation Claim Vs. A Negligence Suit: When Is It Appropriate To Sue Your Employer?
What New Jersey Workers Need to Know About Workplace Accidents
The workers’ compensation system is built to take care of employees who suffer on-the-job injuries by paying their medical bills and lost wages. This is a no-fault system that kicks in after workplace accidents and does not require a worker to prove negligence by their employer or another employee to receive coverage. Under this system, you trade off the ability to sue your employer for injury and wage protections even for injuries that might be your own fault. The bottom line is that under the workers’ comp system, it is often not possible to sue your employer should you get hurt on the job. There are, however, a few situations where it is possible to sue your employer or a third-party for negligence.
When You Can Sue An Employer
The most common exception to the workers’ comp rule is when there is intentional harm inflicted upon an employee. This does not apply to other employees, but only to representatives of the company like a manager, supervisor, or even the owner. These are known legally as intentional torts and include battery, assault, and even false imprisonment. If these circumstances result in the employee’s injury, they can file a suit in civil court and collect damages provided by the law. Other intentional torts are not physical in nature but can still result in harm. If a person of authority within the company inflicts emotional trauma on an employee or intentionally causes them distress, there may be an actionable cause outside of workers’ comp. Someone may say or write something harmful about another employee, and a defamation case may be appropriate. Criminal activities like the unauthorized taking of someone else’s property is not covered by workers’ comp, and can also be pursued outside of that system.
Third Parties And On-The-Job Injuries
There are also instances where parties other than your employer may be a significant player in an accident. Even though workers’ comp may be appropriate, if a third party is the cause of your injuries you may be able to sue them for negligence. These often include vendors operating at the company or on the job site and the distributor or manufacturer of a piece of equipment. But the most common third party suits come from vehicle accidents while an employee is driving for the company. Under negligence principles, the injured employee may be able to receive more in damages than they would under workers’ comp. Workers’ comp strictly limits compensation to medical bills and a certain percentage of lost wages as determined by state law. With a negligence suit, a judge or jury could award the plaintiff damages not just for medical bills and lost wages, but for pain and suffering as well.
Seek Legal Help!
If you are injured on the job and are confused about who may be liable for your injuries, it is time to contact an attorney to help you. An experienced legal team can determine who may be liable for your injuries, under which legal theories, and the best way to proceed so that you can get the full and fair amount for your damages. With on the job injuries you may be dealing with not only your company and their insurance company, but with other parties, insurance companies, and even their attorneys. Find the right advocate for you.
Contact A NJ Workers’ Comp Lawyer to Discuss Your Accident Case Today!
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey workers’ compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The skilled attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients throughout the state, including Toms River, Edison, Brick and Freehold. Call 732-564-7165 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have two offices located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820 and 10 Parsonage Rd., Edison, NJ 08837. Our other offices are located in Brick at 119 Chambers Bridge Rd., Brick, NJ 08723, in Freehold at 402 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ 07728, and in Point Pleasant at 62 Broadway, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.