If you have suffered a workplace injury, your only remedy is most likely having to go through workers' compensation. You can't file a lawsuit against your employer; however, there are exceptions that will be outlined below. This article will give you a general idea of how the workers' compensation system works, and outline the circumstances that do allow you to file a lawsuit for compensation for your injuries.
A No-Fault System
No matter the state you live in, the workers' compensation system is designed to be no-fault. This means it does not matter whether your employer was negligent and that negligence caused the injury, or whether your own carelessness caused the injury. The only thing that matters is that you were injured while on the job.
The no-fault system was put in place to protect the employers and the workers in order to protect everyone involved from timely and expensive lawsuits.
Your Recovery Amount
The amount of money you may be able to recover is limited because of the no-fault system. Because you can't file a lawsuit, you can't recover punitive damages. That does not mean, however, that you won't recover enough money to help you with certain costs, such as medical and therapy bill reimbursements. You will also be able to collect money for any lost wages because of your inability to work.
Not Covered by Workers' Comp
Only employees are eligible to file a workers' compensation claim. Volunteers and independent contractors are not considered employees and are therefore not covered. If you fall into that category and are not covered by workers' compensation, and you can prove that your injury was caused by the negligence of the individual or company you were performing a service for, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, since you are unable to file a workers' compensation claim.
Other Circumstances For Filing a Lawsuit
If you are an employee covered by workers' compensation, then you can only file a lawsuit under extreme circumstance, such as your employer intentionally harming you. Another circumstance in which you may be able to file a lawsuit is if a piece of machinery malfunctioned, subsequently harming you and causing your injury. In this case, you would not necessarily be suing your employer, but would instead be filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the machine you were operating.
For more information on these types of lawsuits, consult with a workers' compensation and accident attorney such as Kenneth R Schuster And Associates PC for more information.