Can I Collect WC and File a Lawsuit?

On Behalf of Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Sosa | November 21, 2022 |

You suffered a workplace injury that left you in pain and unable to work. To make matters even more exasperating, you suspect the incident that injured you could’ve been avoided if your employer had been more careful with proper precautions in place. Now you’re thinking if you can file a lawsuit against your employer and collect workers’ compensation benefits at the same time.

Why Can’t You Sue Your Employer and Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Unfortunately, you are prohibited from suing your employer for a workplace accident and injury. You are not even afforded the option of exploring a lawsuit for a workplace accident. You must first go through the workers’ compensation claims process and may sue your employer only if they deny workers’ comp coverage. Filing a workers’ comp claim technically prohibits holding an employer liable for workplace injuries.

Essentially, when you file a workers’ comp claim, you’re giving up your legal right to sue your employer in exchange for the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits, such as medical treatment and lost earnings, regardless of who caused your injuries. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule.

When Can You Sue an Employer?

If you suffered an injury at work and you can prove your employer intentionally caused your injury, you can file a lawsuit against your employer for an intentional tort. Tort injuries also include non-physical injuries like emotional distress and pain and suffering. Workplace-related intentional torts typically include defamation, harassment, false imprisonment, and battery, among others.

It is vital to note that when it comes to workers’ compensation claims, a work injury is considered accidental unless it resulted from an employer’s deliberate and conscious intent to harm. To win your lawsuit, you must show your employer intended to harm you and injure you. Otherwise, your injury may be deemed a work injury, which means you must stay within the workers’ comp insurance system.

If you were hurt at work and believe that someone, like another employee or a third party, other than your employer was responsible, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that party. For instance, if you suffered an injury because you used defective equipment at work, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective equipment. Likewise, you can sue another employee if you got injured because of their negligent or intentional actions at work.

Seek Legal Advice From a West Palm Beach Workers’ Comp Attorney Now

It is not always clear whether an employee’s case is best handled through the workers’ compensation insurance system or by filing a lawsuit against their employer. Making that determination will require the expertise of an experienced lawyer. If you need legal guidance to figure out the best option for your specific case, you can have your case reviewed by our West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer for free.

Reach out to Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Sosa and arrange your appointment by calling 561-478-2500 or filling out our online form. We are here to secure the best possible outcomes for your case.