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Can I File a Workplace Injury Lawsuit Instead of a Workers’ Comp Claim?

If you were  hurt while you were at work, you are probably thinking about your options for seeking financial compensation. At Dworken & Bernstein, we know how devastating a workplace injury can be, especially when it results in a temporary or permanent disability that prevents you from working and earning a living.

When workplace accidents happen because of an employer’s negligence, many injured workers want to know if they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer in order to seek additional damages beyond those available through the Ohio workers’ compensation system. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation in Ohio is what is known as an exclusive remedy.  This means most workers cannot file a lawsuit relating to a workplace injury. However, there are some very limited exceptions.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation is an Exclusive Remedy

 If you get hurt on the job, your first—and often only—option for seeking compensation is to file a workers’ compensation claim through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). In Ohio, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that regardless of who is at fault for a workplace accident, the injured worker can still pursue benefits under the system.

To be clear, it does not matter if the employer’s negligence caused the accident, or if the worker’s own negligence caused the accident. In a no-fault system, there is no need to address fault or liability for the accident, and the injured worker can be eligible for benefits without proving someone else’s liability or showing that their own fault did not contribute to the accident.

Since Ohio workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, a worker cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits and then file a lawsuit against a negligent employer. However, some situations may exist in which an injured worker can be eligible to file a lawsuit.

When an Injured Worker May Be Able to File a Lawsuit

It is rare for an injured worker to hold an employer accountable for a workplace injury, even in situations in which the employer’s intentional behavior caused the injury. However, if a third party is responsible for the workplace accident and injury, the injured worker may be eligible to file a third-party claim against that negligent party. You should speak with our workers’ compensation attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein about the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit after an on-the-job accident.

Contact an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can provide you with necessary medical and wage loss benefits, but it is critical to ensure that you file your claim with all of the information required by the BWC, and that you do so in a timely manner.

One of our experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys can assist you with your workers’ compensation claim, and we can assess your case to help you determine whether you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against a negligent third party to seek additional compensation for your losses. Contact Dworken & Bernstein today to learn more about how our firm can assist you.

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