The government established workers’ compensation to ensure that employees who are injured on the job are provided financial compensation while they are recovering from their injury.
In general, companies with four or more employees are required to either carry workers’ compensation insurance or self-insurance, which means that they have the funds to pay any employees injured at work for medical expenses and lost income.
Workers’ compensation also protects companies from lawsuits related to a workplace injury, although there are some exceptions.
When Can You File a Workers’ Comp Lawsuit and What Damages Can You Recover?
Because workers’ compensation is considered an ‘exclusive remedy’ for workplace injuries, you are only allowed to file a workers’ comp lawsuit in the follow situations:
- Retaliatory Discharge – This is a legal term that refers to employers who take retaliatory action against someone who filed a workers’ compensation claim. Retaliation can include workplace discrimination, harassment, unlawful termination, reduction in salary, and a demotion. To win this type of workers’ compensation lawsuit, you would have to prove that filing a workers’ comp claim triggered your employer’s actions.
- Intentional Torts – Intentional torts are actions such as assault, battery and fraud. If you can prove that your employer caused your workplace injury through some type of assault, battery or fraud, then you are eligible for damages. It’s important to remember that an intentional tort does not involve negligence on your employer’s part. Because in most states, employer negligence that led to an employer’s injury does not entitle you to file a lawsuit.
But before you can file a workers’ comp lawsuit, you must first go through the entire workers’ compensation process, which typically involves attending administrative meetings and waiting to hear what the state compensation board has to say about your claim.
However, the advantage of filing a workers’ compensation lawsuit is that you can get compensated for punitive damages as well as for pain and suffering. This can be a significant amount of money in a jury trial, but is not available under standard workers’ compensation coverage.
In fact, workers’ compensation benefits only include recovery for lost wages, medical expenses and disability. If a worker is killed as a result of an injury at work, his or her family can also recover death benefits through workers’ compensation.
Get the Legal Help You Deserve
Filing a workers’ compensation lawsuit is difficult and challenging, because workers’ compensation is set up so that businesses are protected against employees filing claims for work-related injuries. That’s why your best chance at success is hiring an experienced and knowledgeable law firm such as the team at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates, P.A. We will marshal our resources and fight for you to obtain all the compensation you have earned and that you deserve. Please call us today at 561-687-5660 to schedule a free consultation.