If you have a work injury, you’ve probably heard several times that the only compensation you will get is from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Is it possible that you could get compensation for your work related injury outside workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation can provide you with benefits and money but the payments are very low and do not cover half of the things that you go through such as pain and suffering. Worse yet, it does not provide punitive damages to punish your employer for dangerous working conditions or poor safety controls.
Filing A Lawsuit For A Work Injury Outside Workers’ Compensation
Thankfully, there are certain situations that allow you to sue for damages outside workers’ compensation.
1. Injury By A Defective Product
If you are injured by a machine that is inherently dangerous, failed to function properly or is defective, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the equipment if they knew that it didn’t work properly and failed to take the necessary steps to warn the employees or the business owner. Usually, in such a case, the manufacturer will have to compensate you for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, etc.
2. Injury By A Toxic Substance
Some substances and chemicals can cause severe injuries and illnesses when exposed to workers. Examples of these substances include radium, silica, chromium compounds, benzene, asbestos and any other poisonous substance that can be grounds for a lawsuit.
There are two kinds of toxic injuries: latent injuries and acute injuries. Latent injuries usually take a long time to appear. Examples of such kind of injuries include lung diseases and cancer.
Acute injuries appear immediately and include poisonings and chemical burns. Acute injuries are much easier to prove than latent injuries. However, it is still possible to file a lawsuit for latent injuries and get compensation. Many workers have previously filed lawsuits for latent injuries and have successfully proved in court that the injuries were work related.
Workers who suffer work injuries from mesothelioma or asbestos almost always win lawsuits because the causation can be proved in court. When you suffer a work injury from a toxic substance, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the safety equipment and the toxic substance.
3. The Conduct Of Your Employer Is Egregious
You can sue your employer for work injuries if they intentionally hurt you. You can sue for damages that exceed more than what you would receive through workers’ compensation. Note that most states, including Rhode Island, do not allow lawsuits to be filed against employers if they get into a serious argument with their employees and a fight ensues.
You can, however, file a lawsuit if your employer’s conduct proves to be so egregious that it is equivalent to intentional harm. For example, your employer requires you to work with chemicals yet they don’t provide you with proper protective equipment. Should you get injured under such circumstances, you can sue your employer for work related injuries.
4. If A 3rd Party Injures You
Sometimes you can be injured on the job by someone who is not your employer or a fellow employee. In such a case, you can file a lawsuit against the person who is responsible for your work injury.
5. When Your Boss Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
You can sue your employer in a civil court for injuries if they are not insured with worker’s compensation insurance. Even though this might seem like a good option because you will get more money than you would through the workers’ compensation system, you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your employer intentionally caused you harm.
Talk To A Workers Compensation Lawyer
If you have been injured at work, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer about your rights. There are laws designed to protect people who get injured at work. These laws can be very hard to understand. Sometimes the people responsible for work injuries may try to get around the law so as to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
This is the reason why you should come to us for help. We have skilled and experienced lawyers who understand and can use the Massachusetts and Rhode Island statutes to fight for your rights.
Get in touch with one of our lawyers by calling (800)-200-7752 or by filling out a contact form today.