If you’ve been injured on the job, you’re entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim to make up for your lost wages and medical costs. If you’re also hoping that you can also sue your employer for damages, be warned that there are very limited circumstances in which that can happen.
Filing for workers’ compensation in Ohio is designed to provide the reparation you need without having to wait through a long, drawn out trial—in many cases, simply getting to trial can take years, while an initial application for workers’ compensation is usually reviewed within 30 days.
However, there are two scenarios in which you could be allowed to sue your employer and file for workers’ compensation. Please note that a workers’ compensation denial does not entitle you to file a lawsuit against your employer, unless your situation falls into either or both of the categories below.
Your Employer Intentionally Hurt You
You can sue your employer if they hurt you intentionally. For example, deliberately pushing someone down the stairs is different than spilling something on the ground and failing to clean it up.
“Intentional” means that they must have taken a direct and specific action to hurt you—carelessness, recklessness and negligence do not qualify as intentional under the law. If you are injured as a result of some type of negligence, then you are limited to what you can recover from workers’ compensation.
Your Injuries Were Caused by a Third Party
If your injuries were caused by a third party, then you may be able to pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a separate claim against the at-fault party who caused the injury. The most common example of this would be an employee who is required to drive as part of his or her job duties and is injured in a car accident while on the clock. An injury such as this would likely give rise to both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim.
Damages and Compensation
If you are allowed to file a suit against your employer, you may file for damages above and beyond workers’ compensation—including compensation for your pain and suffering and punitive damages, where applicable.
Working with a workers’ compensation or personal injury attorney is the best way to recover adequate reparation for your injuries. Even if your situation doesn’t qualify for a lawsuit, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you through the complicated workers’ compensation process. And if any aspect of your claim is denied or contested, one of our experienced attorneys can help you navigate the appeals process.
Contact an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have questions about workers’ compensation or whether you can file a lawsuit against your employer, contact Dworken & Bernstein today.