Can You Sue Your Employer if You Have Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation allows injured employees to receive funds that cover medical bills and lost wages. However, a worker can sue his or her employer directly for an injury only under the most extreme circumstances. In other cases, workers can file lawsuits if negligent third parties are responsible for their injuries. These are called third party lawsuits.
For example, being injured by a defective product or getting hit by a drunk driver while on the job could be the basis of a third party claim. Injured workers might assume that workers’ compensation or disability are the only options. That is simply not always the case.
How Do Third Party Lawsuits Work?
Jimmy is an employee at a Columbus construction company. One day while Jimmy is on the job, the work vehicle he is using to get to the construction site experiences a malfunction and crashes. Jimmy suffers multiple broken ribs and a fractured pelvis during the accident. An investigation later reveals the vehicle he was driving had a faulty ignition switch, which turned the car off while he was driving.
Jimmy would not file a lawsuit against his employer because his supervisors were unaware of the defect. However, Jimmy may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the vehicle and parts manufacturers, the third parties responsible for his injuries.
Jimmy should still file for workers’ compensation while his lawsuit is underway, as there is no guarantee it will be successful. If his lawsuit is successful, any workers’ compensation benefits Jimmy receives will be subtracted from his award or settlement and sent to the insurance provider as reimbursement.
Scenarios like the one we just discussed are a good reason why it is important to contact a workers’ comp attorney after suffering an injury on the job. There might be other options for benefits.
The Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC can help injured workers find options.