We never want to think about what would happen if we were put in a compromising position by our employer, but unfortunately, it does happen.
If you believe that you were involved in an accident that could have been avoided by your employer, you might have grounds to sue them for compensation.
The compensation that you might receive will cover distress, suffering, and any pain you were in due to the incident. Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that you are as safe as possible in the environment that they have created for you.
Today we’re going to look at whether or not you’d be able to sue your employer for negligence and how you’d go about doing just that.
What does the term negligence mean in the workplace?
The term negligence implies that someone has failed to properly take care of something that could be dangerous. In the workplace, this would be defined as your employer causing indirect harm to you through unsafe practices or equipment.
While there are measures in place for you to be able to receive compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault, you cannot sue your employer for negligence. The only way you would be able to do this is if they were to directly and physically harm you.
This protects the employer under the workers’ compensation system. Most US states use this system and therefore will only compensate people who get injured at work from something that wasn’t their fault.
You will get compensation if this circumstance applies to you, but you will also forfeit your right to sue your employer for additional charges. Being able to pay off employees that have been injured quickly is supposed to save time and money that would be wasted on fighting legal battles.
Why does employer compensation work so well?
Most employees are happy enough to receive compensation from their employers and they don’t feel the need to sue the employer any further. It also keeps the employer safe and covered by lawsuits.
For example, if there was a mass casualty accident and the employer didn’t offer compensation, they might be slapped in the face with dozens of lawsuits.
Not only would this take all of their time, but it also might drive the business to go bust. Moreover, the burden on the employee might be too much for them to find. When suing the employer, the employee would have the difficult task of proving how the employer was at fault for their injuries.
The entire process of suing the employer would also take months, at a minimum, which can be taxing on the employee as well, especially if they cannot work during this time.
Finally, they might also not have a job to go back to. Overall, suing an employer for negligence can be very tricky and more effort than it’s worth.
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is the system that allows employees to get a lump sum of compensation after suffering an injury in the workplace. However, you’re not always entitled to this money. For example, the employee needs to have been following the business’ rules and guidelines when they were injured.
If they were in violation of the rules and it can be proved through security cameras or employee testimonials, the injured employee might not be entitled to compensation at all. An example is detailed below.
You, a warehouse employee, have been told that wearing steel-capped boots is a requirement whenever you’re in the warehouse. It is also detailed in your contract and in the employee handbook.
Unfortunately, it’s a Monday morning and you’ve realized that you’ve forgotten your boots at home. You’re walking to the office in your basic pumps to ask the employer for a spare pair of steel-capped boots.
As you’re walking through the warehouse a case of heavy goods falls from a shelf and onto your foot and causes a fracture.
Fuelled with rage and pain, you storm as best as you can to the office and demand compensation from your employer. However, many people have seen you clearly break company policy with your pumps. You might not be eligible for workers’ compensation.
When can you sue your employer for negligence?
There are some instances where you can still sue your employer for negligence, even though the entire point of workers’ compensation is to avoid this issue.
Below are some of the reasons why you’d be able to sue your employer for negligence.
A Lack of Workers’ Compensation
Some employers don’t have workers’ compensation insurance even though it is a legal requirement for them to offer their employees.
That isn’t the employees’ fault, so why should they suffer?
If your employer doesn’t offer this insurance and you get injured, you can sue them with the help of an injury lawyer.
You’re Not an Employee
Your contract might not consider you an employee of the company. For example, commission-only workers might not be considered employees of a business.
Therefore you won’t be covered by the workers’ compensation insurance. In this instance, you can still sue the employer for negligence if you have a strong case.
The Employer Hurt You Deliberately
Of course, if your employer walks up to you and hits you directly in the face causing injury, you can slap them back with a civil suit against them.
They will have to comply with this lawsuit but you would have to prove the altercation yourself.
To conclude, in most cases, you will not be able to sue your employer for negligence. This is because your employer should cover you with workers’ compensation insurance. This should cover any workplace injuries provided that you were not in violation of any of the workplace guidelines.
However, in a few instances, it is possible for you to sue your employer for negligence. If your employer does not offer the correct insurance or you’re not technically an employee of the business, there is potential ground to sue.
You can also sue an employer if they directly harm you in any way.
Thank you for visiting. This website is for informational purposes only. None of the information provided is intended to constitute, nor does it constitute, legal advice, and none of the information necessarily reflects the opinions of Misty Rock Capital LLC dba whocanisue.com or anyone associated, employed or affiliated with Misty Rock Capital LLC dba whocanisue.com.