The risk of being injured on the job exists for all workers, but is especially high for workers in certain industries, such as construction. When workers are injured on the job, workers’ compensation is the most common–and usually the most appropriate–source of compensation. However, injured workers often wonder whether or not they maintain the right to sue their employer if they’ve been harmed at work. Here’s what you need to know–
Workers’ Compensation and Employer Immunity
Workers’ compensation provides no-fault benefits to workers who are injured on the job, so long as they can prove that their injuries occurred as a result of work-related activities. However, in exchange for no-fault benefits, employees give up their right to sue their employer and employers are granted immunity from liability. This means that in the vast majority of cases, you cannot sue your employer if you’re injured at work.
Exceptions to Employer Immunity: When You Can Sue
However, there are some exceptions to the immunity that most employers benefit from. You can seek additional compensation against your employer if:
- You were injured by your employer’s willful or serious misconduct. If you have been injured by your employer’s willful or serious misconduct, then you can seek further compensation for your harm in addition to the standard workers’ compensation benefits you may receive. This is found under Section 28 of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 152, and holds that an employee can receive double their compensation award if the employer’s serious or willful misconduct led to harm.
- Your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance and you are therefore not protected by the no-fault system as such, you may file a lawsuit for damages directly against your employer.
- You are an independent contractor, not an employee. If you are an independent contractor, you are not privy to the same protections that employees are, including workers’ compensation benefits. As such, you may file a lawsuit against the party whose negligence caused you harm, including a party with whom you have contracted to perform work.
- You’re filing a claim against a third party. Even if you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you are an employee, and your employer did not act willfully, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against a negligent third party. For example, if you were injured at work by a defective piece of machinery, you won’t be allowed to file a lawsuit against your employer, but could bring forth a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective equipment.
Call Our Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney to Learn More
To learn more about your right to bring forth a personal injury claim against an employer or another party after a workplace accident, call The Law Offices of Alan Hildreth King & Associates today. Our Massachusetts personal injury law firm offers free consultations and can start working on your case immediately. Reach us online or at (781) 284-2900 to get started.