Can I File a Claim If I Get Hurt Because of Negligence at Work?
Generally speaking, most workplace injuries do not allow an injured worker to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for his or her injuries. Instead, that worker is protected by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law and can file a claim for benefits.
As we stated above, workers’ compensation law is not fault-based. This helps both employers and employees and allows employees to obtain compensation when they have an eligible illness or injury. In other words, the employer’s fault or negligence does not come into play in a workers’ compensation claim, and likewise, an employee’s fault does not affect his or her eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Indeed, even if an employee is negligent and causes his or her own injury, that negligence does not impact whether the employee is eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Similarly, an employer’s negligence is not a requirement for an employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
When Can I Sue for Damages from a Workplace Injury?
Even though the workers’ compensation is typically how an employee seeks compensation when she or he gets hurt because of negligence at work, there are three types of situations in which an employee still may be eligible to file a civil lawsuit:
- Another employee’s gross negligence caused your injury;
- Another employee’s intentional act (to harm) caused your injury; and/or
- A third party, such as another automobile driver unaffiliated with your employer, caused your injury.
Workers’ Compensation Usually is the Exclusive Remedy for Workplace Negligence
Most often, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. However, there are situations in which an employer can be held civilly liable. For example, if you are the victim of assault and battery at work, that harm can give rise to a civil suit. In addition, gross negligence can also give rise to a civil claim. Yet it is important to keep in mind that gross negligence can be difficult to prove. Typically, an employer’s failure to follow basic safety guidelines will not rise to the level of gross negligence.
More frequently, civil lawsuits arise when a third party is responsible for an employee’s injuries. Examples of workplace negligence that may result in a lawsuit include but are not limited to:
- Employee injured in a car accident by a third-party driver while transporting materials for work;
- You got hurt on property owned or maintained by someone other than your employer (for example, if you are a delivery driver and slipped and fell on a broken step); and
- You were injured by a defective product, allowing you to file a claim against the designer, manufacturer, and/or marketer of the product.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 5,000 workers sustain fatal injuries on the job each year while thousands more suffer injuries. Car accidents and construction accident injuries are the most common sources of serious and fatal workplace injuries. In the construction industry, falls are most frequently to blame for severe harm.
Contact a Minnesota Employer Negligence Lawyer About Filing a Claim
If you were injured at work and need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim or filing a civil lawsuit, an experienced and compassionate Minnesota workplace negligence lawyer at our firm can assist with your case. Most often, injured workers will seek compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim, but you may be eligible to file a civil lawsuit depending upon the specific facts of your case. Contact us today for more information about how we can assist you.