Anyone who has been seriously injured at work may have a love/hate relationship with the Worker’s Compensation system. The benefit to the system is that anyone injured at work can be compensated for lost wages and medical bills regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Even if you caused your own injuries, you are covered under worker’s compensation. The drawback… victims injured at work can not sue their employer and can not collect damages for pain and suffering. Even if your employer did something negligent or put you in a dangerous situation, you can not sue for pain and suffering.
That said, I think it is important that people realize the many instances in which damages can be obtained for pain and suffering even if you were injured while at work.
- If you drive a truck or personal automobile for a living and are injured in an automobile accident caused by the other driver, you can still collect damages from the at-fault driver in addition to worker’s compensation;
- if you are working outside and are struck by a vehicle, the victim of a pedestrian accident, you can pursue damages against the driver;
- if your employer sent you to another building or residence and you suffered a slip and fall, you can sue the owner of that building for the injury if there was a defect on the property;
- if you are a construction worker injured by a defective product, you can seek damages against the manufacturer of the faulty product.
As you can see, you are not limited to the constructs of the worker’s compensation system just because you are entitled to worker’s comp or were injured at work. If you were injured in a car accident, pedestrian accident, slip and fall, construction accident, or other similar accident while working, it may still be possible to collect damages from the at-fault third party. The above list contains only common examples and is not a complete list. It is important to speak with an attorney right away to understand your rights regarding worker’s compensation and damages against at-fault third parties.
If you have questions regarding worker’s compensation or wonder if you are entitled to additional damages against an at-fault party, contact my office for a free consultation.