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Why suing your employer is more complicated than you think

Imagine that you are at work one day, and a terrible accident occurs. The cause doesn’t necessarily in the moment. A fellow worker may have made a mistake while operating some machinery; or maybe a critical piece of equipment malfunctioned; or some objects in your workplace may have fallen onto you. Whatever the reason, you suffer some serious injuries, and as a result, you are given workers’ compensation to help during your recovery.

But, in your mind, your employer bears some responsibility for the workplace accident. As such, you want to file a lawsuit against your company. Here’s the thing, though: you can’t sue your employer if you receive workers’ compensation, unless the accident occurred under very specific circumstances.

Workers’ compensation functions as a “no-fault system,” which simply means that if you accept workers’ comp, you are essentially absolving your employer of blame (unless, of course, the incident involves those specific circumstances we mentioned earlier).

So what are those circumstances? Well, you can sue a third party if they are involved in your workplace accident. For example, you could sue the manufacturer of a piece of equipment if it malfunctioned and caused you harm. You could also sue your employer if they did something illegal or intentional. If a manager assaulted you, or if the company committed fraud, or if they invaded your privacy, then you could sue them.

If you are hurt in a work accident and are considering a lawsuit against your employer, make sure you consult with an attorney first to ensure your case has merit.

Source: FindLaw, “Workers’ Compensation: Can I Sue My Employer Instead?,” Accessed Dec. 7, 2015