Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence?
We understand that after you’ve been injured on the job, you’ll want to do everything in your power to make that wrong right. And sometimes, simply receiving workers’ compensation for your injury doesn’t feel like enough. However, according to workman’s comp law, you are not allowed to sue your employer for negligence. The only avenue is through workers’ compensation.
As a follow up question, I frequently have clients ask, “But what if I can prove that my employer was negligent?” Even if they were somehow negligent, you still cannot sue.
It IS possible to get an additional 10% penalty against your employer if you can prove that they willfully failed to comply with any statutory requirement; however, cases of the Industrial Commission enforcing this penalty are very rare. “Willful Failure” is a very high standard to meet. Generally the employer would have to be at fault for something far more serious.
The only exception to being able to sue your employer in the case of an injury is if your employer was required by law to carry workers’ compensation and failed to do so. In this case, your employer cannot claim the Workers’ Compensation Act as a defense in a lawsuit. In this case, you would be able to sue.
In the vast majority of cases, you may not sue your employer for negligence. When it comes to workers’ comp cases, it’s always a good idea to work with an experienced attorney who has a good understanding of what you can or can’t do with your case.