CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER FOR WORK INJURY?
Our personal injury lawyers frequently get calls from people injured at work, asking 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 is that the employee cannot sue the employer beyond the amount allowed in 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 a work injury. The two primary exceptions in MN are: (1) if the employer or a co-employee engaged in “gross negligence” in causing the injury, or (2) if the work accident was caused by a third party.
INJURED WHILE WORKING 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 there is a claim against the third party (other vehicle owner, dog owner, machine manufacturer) in addition to workers compensation. Those are just a few examples of third-party cases.
Our lawyers have handled many of these on-the-job cases against third parties. The employee still gets workers compensation benefits. We help the employee get additional compensation from the third party. In addition, we help the workers compensation insurer get their money back from the person responsible for the accident.
If you are injured in an on the job accident while working and have questions about 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’ experience helping people throughout MN get full compensation for their injuries.