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Can I Sue My Employer If They Contributed to My Injuries?

Compensation Options for On-The-Job Injuries

After a workplace injury, many employees assume that they can only recover compensation through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. While workers’ compensation has its benefits and can offer medical care and monetary recovery, it’s not the only option for compensation. In this article, we examine the scenarios in which someone may be eligible to sue their employer for injuries sustained on the job.

When Can You Sue Your Employer for an Injury?

Under workers’ compensation laws, filing a claim means that you cannot sue for damages related to a workplace injury. However, there are some exceptions that every worker should know about. The following are common examples of when an employee would be entitled to file a lawsuit in civil court:

  • Your employer intentionally harmed you. If your employer took action to hurt you deliberately and caused your injury, you may be able to sue your employer for intentional harm. For example, your supervisor purposefully punched you in the face.
  • Your employer has insufficient workers’ compensation coverage. If your employer has inadequate coverage or no coverage at all, it could be possible for you to recover compensation through a civil lawsuit.
  • A defective product caused your injury. Workers who are injured by defective machinery that failed to work or are dangerous. The machinery or equipment manufacturer could be held liable for injuries if they knew of the danger or didn’t correctly warn the employees of the risks.
  • A toxic substance injured you. Employees who must work around toxic substances are at risk of developing occupational illnesses. When unprotected around asbestos, benzene, silica, and other substances, workers can develop conditions such as cancer or severe respiratory issues. These types of lawsuits are known as “toxic torts.”
  • A third party caused your injury. In some cases, when an employee is injured on the job, a third party could be at fault. For example, suppose an employee is on the road for work-related travel and gets into an accident with another driver that ran a red light. In that case, the employee can sue the other driver and seek compensation from the driver’s auto insurance company.

Civil Suit Vs. Workers’ Compensation Recovery

Workers’ compensation benefits will allow you to receive medical benefits almost immediately, as well as compensation for lost wages and disability benefits. A workers’ compensation claim will not allow you to recover punitive damages (monetary punishment of the defendant for egregious conduct) or compensation for your pain and suffering.

It’s also important to understand that monetary recovery in a workers’ compensation claim is calculated based on a percentage of your wages.

When You Need a San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer

When workers sustain catastrophic injuries due to a workplace accident, the consequences can be dire. Not only can the injury pose long-term complications, but it can also result in mounting bills for medical care and other therapies and treatments. If you or a loved one were harmed in a workplace accident, our San Francisco personal injury lawyers are here to help you.

At Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, our experienced attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. When victims are harmed in the workplace and must go up against large corporations and their insurers' interests, we are here to ensure your rights are protected.

Contact Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn today at (415) 940-7176 to schedule a free consultation and learn your rights.