Can Anyone Sue Their Employer After a Workplace Accident?

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Workers who become seriously injured in a workplace accident are often told they must file for workers’ compensation if they want to be compensated for what happened to them. Is this always the case? Or do some workers have the alternative opportunity to bring a lawsuit against their employer?

Workers’ Compensation Bars Lawsuits in Most Cases

Taking a look at the details written into a workers’ compensation policy will usually reveal that workers’ compensation is the only solution available to employees covered by a policy. Lawsuits against employers are either entirely prohibited under workers’ compensation or filing a lawsuit will nullify any chance of filing for workers’ comp later. Inversely, someone who has already filed for workers’ compensation usually cannot file a lawsuit afterward.

The trade-off of being required to use just avenue after a workplace accident is that workers’ compensation does not consider liability as a factor most of the time. An employee can admit directly to their employer that they made a negligent mistake that caused their accident, and they will still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The only exception is if there is reason to believe the employee intentionally acted recklessly or negligently. In such a situation, the responding insurance company would likely delay any compensation while an investigation into the accident unfolded.

Independent Contractors May Have Other Options

Workers’ compensation policies in most states do not require employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits coverage to independent contractors. People who work based on a job contract, not an employment agreement, may be able to purchase their own workers’ comp coverage through an individualized insurance plan. However, due to the cost of such plans, most do not.

In this case, independent contractors are free to file lawsuits against employers and companies that contributed to workplace negligence that caused their workplace accident. As with other personal injury lawsuits, liability is the deciding factor in such claims filed by independent workers. If it cannot be proven that the employer’s negligence actually contributed to the accident or injuries, then there might not be any compensation to collect at the end of the case.

Are You Allowed to Sue Your Employer?

Knowing if you can or even should bring an injury lawsuit against your employer is difficult due to a variety of contributing factors. You also could be incorrectly classified as an independent contractor when you should, technically and legally, be considered an employer. In such a case, you would not need to file a lawsuit because you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

To get to the truth of your situation and if you live in Southern California, go ahead and contact the Law Offices of Wax & Wax. We offer our workers’ compensation legal services to people in Santa Clarita, Glendale, and the surrounding region. Call (818) 946-0608 to learn more.