If you’ve been injured at work, you’ve probably been told that workers compensation will cover your missed wages and reimburse you for any medical treatment related to your accident. Generally, this is the rule. However, there are some important exceptions in which you might be able to sue your employer for damages beyond the limited amounts provided by workers’ compensation benefits.
Under what circumstances can I sue my employer?
In some cases, you may be able to sue your employer in civil court outside of workers’ compensation. You can file a lawsuit if:
Your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. Under California law, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer has broken the law, you might be able to sue him or her in civil court or collect money from the Uninsured Employer's Benefits trust fund to recover damages from your work-related accident or occupational disease.
Your employer intentionally hurt you. You may sue your employer for damages if he or she committed an act with the deliberate intent of hurting you. The injury could be physical or emotional. For example, maybe your employer lost his temper and pushed you so hard that you fell and hurt yourself, or perhaps he published a defamatory statement that ruined your professional reputation.
If I’m eligible, what do I need to file a lawsuit?
If your situation sounds like one of the scenarios above, you could potentially collect a lot more than the benefits provided by workers’ compensation. When you file a lawsuit, you have a right to sue your employer for pain and suffering and/or punitive damages as punishment for his dangerous behavior. The most important thing you’ll need in order to establish your claim is proof.
If you decide to proceed with a lawsuit you will need to provide proof that your employer has insufficient workers’ compensation insurance. Or, if your employer physically or emotionally hurt you, you’ll have to prove that the injury was intentional. You’ll also have to show the court what monetary damages you have incurred, such as medical bills, lost wages, and compensation you’re entitled to for permanent impairment.
While suing may grant you more money than the workers’ compensation system would have provided, gathering proof of intent and defending your case can be difficult, as your employer will likely have an experienced attorney on his side. Luckily, you’re entitled to representation, too.
That’s where we come in.
Suing your employer is a complex process. Because of this, very few people attempt to navigate the legal system on their own. A workers’ compensation attorney can help. At the Law Offices of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we fight for the rights of hundreds of injured workers every year. We know all of the ways employers will try to argue their innocence, and our skilled attorneys have decades of experience in revealing the trickery, uncovering the truth, and getting justice for our clients.
Give us a call to schedule your free consultation. We’ll evaluate your case and advise you on the next steps towards getting the benefits you deserve.