Workplace accidents and work-related injuries affect millions of Americans each year. In fact, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there are nearly 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses each year. People who are injured in preventable workplace accidents often wonder whether they can sue their employer to recover for their losses. The answer, as is often the case in legal matters, is “it depends.” In most states, Worker’s Compensation programs operate to preclude most injured workers from filing suits against their employers. Even in these jurisdictions, however, an injured employee may be able to sue their employer under certain circumstances. The best way to determine whether you have a claim against your employer is to have your case reviewed by an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Pennsylvania is in the majority of states that require certain employers to pay into a worker’s compensation fund to compensate injured employees. The system acts as a type of insurance and helps cover an injured employee’s medical expenses and lost income due to injury. However, Pennsylvania worker’s compensation laws also work to limit employer liability in workplace accidents or incidents. The worker’s compensation system is considered to be “no-fault,” which means that worker’s compensation will be your main redress no matter who was at fault in the accident. This means you cannot also file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or coworker, even if the accident was their fault.
Under limited circumstances, however, injured employees may be able to recover in court by suing their employer or another party. These situations may arise when:
- The conduct that caused the injury was illegal
- The conduct that caused the injury was intentional
- The conduct that caused the injury was reckless
- The injury was caused by a third party
- The employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance