Workers’ Compensation Isn’t Suing Your Employer
Many times our office receives calls from injured workers that ask if they should sue their employer because of their workplace injury. Nobody wants to be involved in a lawsuit, but if you’ve been injured as a result of an accident at work, you may have the grounds to take legal action against your employer. That legal action will generally not be in the form of a lawsuit though, because there is a workers’ compensation system in North Carolina that will apply in most cases.
Depending on the size of the organization, most employers in NC are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees that are injured on the job. In some situations involving workplace injuries a lawsuit against a company can be instituted but the most common remedy for someone injured on the job in North Carolina will involve a workers’ compensation claim and not a civil law suit.
There are several scenarios in which a lawsuit against your employer is justified and stands a chance of ending in a successful settlement or verdict. The first is if you were injured at work and you have reason to believe that your employer intentionally caused you harm. This would be classified as an intentional tort and encompasses both physical injuries and emotional distress. Also situations where a crime has been committed, such as an assault, rape, or invasion of privacy would fall under this category of being able to bring a civil lawsuit against an employer.
If your work injury was caused by a third party, you can sue them as well. A common third party work injury situation frequently involves suits against manufacturers. For instance, if you’re injured by a defective part or machinery malfunction, you can hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries.
If you and your employer are covered by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, your injury falls under the exclusive remedy provisions for illnesses and injuries meaning. As stated above, that means you cannot bring a civil lawsuit against your employer. However, for your employer to receive exclusive remedy protection, they have to purchase insurance or meet the qualifying factors to become a self-insured employer. If the employer fails to do this, they’re opening themselves up to a host of potential problems such as criminal liability, financial penalties imposed by the state of North Carolina and a civil lawsuit from the injured worker.
Dealing with an on the job injury and figuring out how you should hold your employer accountable can be a tricky matter. Remember that there are important guidelines that govern your ability to file a workers’ comp claim and that there are also strict time periods for filing lawsuits. You should consult with an attorney to make sure that you rights are protected.
If you’ve been the victim of a negligent or intentional injury at your workplace, caused by either the actions of your employer or those of a third party, talk to a lawyer. The team of workers compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has years of combined experience working with employees who have been injured at work. We can evaluate your case and help you create a plan of action for moving forward. We’ll fight for your rights; all you have to do is contact us.