CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER AFTER WORK INJURY?
Our personal injury lawyers frequently get calls from people injured at work who want to know if they can sue their employer. As always with the law, the answer is that it depends. However, in general the answer is that the employee is limited to workers compensation insurance and cannot otherwise sue the employer for an on the job injury.
The idea behind Minnesota Workers Compensation is that an employee injured on the job is automatically compensated regardless of whose fault the accident was. In other words, the employee doesn’t have to prove the employer did anything wrong. The trade-off to the employee for this law is that he cannot sue the employer and cannot receive compensation beyond the amount allowed by the workers compensation schedules. Therefore, the employee generally does not need a lawyer unless the workers compensation insurer refuses to pay (which unfortunately happens too often.)
However, there are exceptions that sometimes allow the employee to sue for additional compensation after being injured in an accident at work. The two primary exceptions are (1) if the employer or a co-employee engaged in “gross negligence” in causing the injury, or (2) if the accident was caused by a third party. Examples of a third party claim are when a delivery person is hit by another vehicle, where a mail carrier is bitten by a dog, or where a machine operator is injured by a defective machine. In each of those cases, and many others, there is a claim against the third party (other vehicle owner, dog owner, machine manufacturer) in addition to workers compensation.
If you are injured in an accident while working and have questions about your compensation and whether you can sue the employer or a third party, call us for a free consultation with a lawyer. Our attorneys have over 25 years of experience helping people throughout MN get full compensation for their injuries.