Does Accepting Workers’ Comp Bar Me from Suing My Employer?

Most employees in Louisiana who suffer workplace injuries or illnesses are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on their condition, they may get compensation for medical care and vocational rehabilitation as well indemnity wage benefits. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is responsible for paying these benefits. It doesn’t matter if the injury was your employer’s fault or not. The injury simply needs to be work-related. Usually, the only way to get any type of compensation is to use the workers’ comp system. If you’ve been injured at work you generally can’t file a lawsuit to recover damages for work-related injuries or illnesses. However, there are situations in which you can sue your employer or a third party.

There are two key reasons why you may want to pursue compensation outside of Louisiana’s workers’ comp system. Firstly, personal injury claims will get you more money than workers’ comp claims. Secondly, personal injury claims allow you to recover additional forms of compensation like pain and suffering and punitive damages.

For advice on your specific case, you should contact a Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer. For now, let’s look at some of the situations when you can sue your employer for your injuries. You may be able to take legal action if:

  • Your injuries are due to intentional or egregious actions on the part of your employer. In rare circumstances, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against a company if your injuries result from negligence. For example, if you were hurt because your employer didn’t provide adequate safety equipment, you may have a case.
  • Your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. Almost all private and public employers in Louisiana must have workers’ comp coverage. However, not all businesses adhere to the law. If your employer doesn’t have insurance and you suffer injuries, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit. You will need to prove that your employer was somehow at fault for your injury. It’s important to get an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to work with you on your case.

There are also situations in which you can sue a third party to get the compensation you deserve. Let’s say you suffered injuries in a car accident while driving a company car and heading to a client meeting. If you can prove the other driver caused the accident, you may be able to recover damages from their insurer. You may also be able to sue someone else if:

  • A defective product led to your injuries. Some work injuries occur because a product didn’t work properly, or it was inherently dangerous. If this happened to you, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. You will have to prove that the manufacturer knew the product was dangerous and didn’t issue adequate warnings.
  • Your injuries were due to toxic materials. If you were exposed to dangerous chemicals or products and you became ill, you may have a valid claim. Benzene, asbestos, and silica have been known to cause illness, especially after prolonged exposure. If you’ve suffered burns, poisoning, cancer or lung disease, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the substance.

Building a Personal Injury Case

When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you don’t have to prove that someone was responsible for your injuries. You only have to draw a clear link between your injuries or illness and your job. However, when you file a personal injury claim, you need to present evidence to the court. If you believe you need to sue your employer due to negligence, think they deliberately hurt you, or they didn’t have insurance, you need to prove it.

Since you will be asking for a specific amount in damages, you will need to have evidence of your losses. This includes medical bills, proof of lost wages, and medical records. You must seek advice from a lawyer promptly so you can begin gathering all the documents you need. Building a strong personal injury case takes time. Therefore, the sooner you hire a lawyer, the better it will be for you.

If You End up Needing to Sue Your Employer, Call Our Law Firm

If you’ve suffered an injury at work, call our Louisiana workers’ compensation law firm and speak with our skilled attorneys. We will review your claim thoroughly and give you our professional opinion. We’ll let you know if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in light of your injury or illness. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.