Workplace injuries can be devastating and may have lasting effects on an employee's overall health and well-being. Moreover, it can strain relationships with coworkers or employers and affect an individual's ability to provide for their family. It's essential to understand how to protect oneself in these situations. Workers' compensation benefits provide employees with financial resources to get medical treatment, recover lost wages, and cover other costs related to their injury. However, if you're a workplace injury victim, you might wonder if you can pursue legal action against your employer.
Understanding the Workers' Compensation System
Before we dive into the legal aspects of this issue, it's essential to understand the workers' compensation system. The system is designed to protect employees against work-related injuries, which means that the employer's insurance policy will cover any medical expenses or lost wages. In other words, the workers' compensation system operates on a "no-fault" basis, which means that an employee is not required to prove that their employer was at fault for their injury.
Can an Employee Sue Their Employer for a Work-Related Injury?
In most cases, employees cannot sue their employer for a work-related injury if they receive workers' compensation benefits. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, suppose the employer acted intentionally or displayed gross negligence. In that case, an employee may be able to sue their employer for damages above and beyond what's provided by workers' compensation benefits. Similarly, if a third party was involved in the incident that caused the injury, an employee may be able to bring a lawsuit against that party.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are some situations in which an employee may be able to sue their employer for a work-related injury even if they're receiving workers' compensation benefits. For example, suppose the employer didn't have workers' compensation insurance or did not comply with the laws regarding workers' compensation. In that case, an employee may be able to pursue legal action against their employer. Similarly, suppose the employee was exposed to a toxic substance at work. In that case, they may be able to sue their employer if workers' compensation benefits do not cover the illness caused by the substance.
The Benefits of Workers' Compensation
While it's possible to sue an employer for a work-related injury, it's important to remember that workers' compensation benefits provide employees with valuable resources to help them recover. These benefits include medical treatment, disability payments, and vocational rehabilitation services. Additionally, the no-fault system ensures that employees receive these benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury, easing some of the stress and burden for both the employer and employee.
Workers' Compensation Lawyers Rapid City, SD
At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, our experienced workers' compensation attorneys have helped numerous clients in Rapid City, SD, achieve the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about your workers' compensation benefits or believe you may have a case for additional compensation, contact us today at (605) 777-7466 for a free consultation. Our team is here to support you every step of the way.