Workplace Injury: When You Can Sue Outside of Workers’ Compensation

Workplace injuries happen to the best of us, and they can range to a minor cut or scrape that might not even require stitches to the kind of life-changing injury that could result in permanent disability. For the most part, an employee’s only recourse in such a situation is to make a claim against their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are several situations where you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit either directly against your employer, or against a company or individual who played a decisive role in your injury. Here are some situations that can lead an employee to making personal injury claims outside of workers’ comp.

Defective Products

If your injury resulted from a defective product, you might be eligible to bring a lawsuit directly against the manufacturer of the piece of equipment that injured you. If the manufacturer knew that there was a danger of defect or malfunction with the machine and it didn’t pass on a warning to your employer, the truly responsible party is the manufacturer, not your employer – unless your employer had instructed you to use the machine in an unsafe manner.

Toxic Substances

If you were exposed to a toxic substance, there’s a chance you could sue the substance’s manufacturer directly – prime examples of this are the many mesothelioma lawsuits arising from asbestos exposure in the construction industry. In the event of an injury, you can routinely also add the manufacturers of any safety equipment you were using at the time if it proved to be ineffective in protecting you from toxic exposure.

Lack of Insurance

In some cases, an employer might not have valid workers’ compensation insurance, something that can earn a company in Las Vegas as much as $15,000 in fines from the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations. In such an event you might be eligible to bring your employer to court, or to collect compensation from a fund set up by your state specifically for this purpose. This can result in larger payouts than you would get from an insurance claim, but the threshold for bringing a successful claim is much higher; you’ll have to prove, through a preponderance of the evidence, that your employer’s action or inaction led to your injury. This is something you don’t have to do when it comes to workers’ comp claims.

Injured by a Third Party

Even if you were on the job while you were injured, if the source of the injury was a third party you could bring suit against that person instead of having to file for a workers’ compensation claim. This typically occurs in instances when a delivery driver for a company gets involved in an accident through no fault of their own; in such an event, it’s the other driver’s insurer that needs to pay out for any injuries that you might have sustained. This insurer will also be liable for repairing any damage to company vehicles that arose from the accident.

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