Seeking Financial Recovery Outside the Workers’ Compensation System
After a workplace injury, one of your first steps is typically to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. There are benefits to seeking benefits under the workers’ compensation laws. If your claim is approved, you will likely start to receive benefits in a couple weeks. In addition, workers’ compensation claims are basically no-fault actions. You don’t have to show negligence by your employer—you only have to show that you were injured and that the injury occurred while you were working.
There are also some disadvantages to a workers’ compensation claim. The amount of benefits you receive will be limited, based on your salary or wages for the past year. In addition, you may be required to submit to treatment by a doctor chosen by your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, don’t be surprised if your employer tells you it’s your “exclusive remedy,” and that you can’t pursue compensation in any other type of proceeding. That’s not necessarily true, though. In fact, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and a private lawsuit simultaneously—here’s how it works.
The workers’ compensation laws are intended to provide an alternate means of recovery for injuries caused by the carelessness or negligence of your employer or a co-employee. If an unrelated third party causes or contributes to your injuries, you can bring legal action against that third party in a civil action in court. Examples include:
- Injuries suffered in a work-related motor vehicle accident, where the at-fault driver is neither your employer nor a co-worker
- Injuries caused by dangerous or defective products manufactured by a third party
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At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we offer experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel to individuals in Pennsylvania. To set up an appointment for a free initial consultation, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.
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