Since employers provide workers’ compensation insurance for the benefit of their employees, workers are often prohibited from suing them. Injured employees give up their right to sue employers in court in exchange for the right to receive workers’ comp benefits, no matter who was at fault.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you suffered an injury at work and you believe that your employer intentionally caused you this harm, you can bring a lawsuit for an intentional tort in civil court. Not only do physical injuries count as tort injuries, but also non-physical injuries, such as emotional distress.
The following are the most common intentional torts:
- False imprisonment
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Invasion of privacy
On the other hand, if you suffered an injury at work and you believe someone other than you or your employer was responsible (i.e. a third party), you are able to sue that party. However, if you are awarded monetary damages, you may have to pay a portion of the recovery back to your employer or your employer’s insurance company, to repay the workers’ compensation benefits that you received.
Alas, it is not always clear whether or not you have a workers’ compensation claim or a civil claim against your employer, which is why it is imperative to get legal help from an experienced lawyer.