Why you can’t sue an at fault co-worker for causing injury

Michigan workers comp lawyer explains why you cannot sue a negligent co-worker for causing your work injury.

We see many work-related injuries that are caused by negligent co-workers. These work injuries typically occur from either carelessness or a disregard for safety.

It’s hard not to be angry at a person who caused your work injury. This is especially true when your ability to earn a living is put in jeopardy.

We understand and want you to know your legal rights. Unfortunately, except in rare occasions, you cannot sue a co-worker for causing your injury.

Exclusive remedy

Workers compensation is a compromise between employer and employee interests. The injured worker is entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault. In exchange for these benefits, the employer gets protection from civil lawsuits. Workers compensation is the exclusive remedy.

You can get lost wages, medical care, and help with retraining under workers compensation. These benefits will be paid by your employer or its insurance company. You cannot seek additional damages beyond what workers compensation pays.

Your co-workers are also protected by the exclusive remedy provision and are generally not liable for any additional benefits.

Intentional tort exception

It is possible to collect additional damages from a co-worker, including pain and suffering, if you can show that he or she intended to hurt you. This is a very difficult case to prove and most are unsuccessful.

If you can show that your co-worker was certain that you would be hurt, you could have a claim. It’s best to speak with an experienced workers compensation lawyer who can help you identify all of your legal rights.

Third party cases

You can also pursue a case against any other person or business who is responsible for your work injury. These cases usually involve defective machines or products.

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, the at fault driver would be liable. You can recover any damages that would be allowed in a traditional civil action, including pain and suffering.

Your employer and its insurance company are entitled to claim a portion of the proceeds from any third party lawsuit. They are allowed to make this claim for reimbursement of any workers compensation benefits paid.

A workers comp lawyer can help

It is important to speak with an experienced workers comp lawyer whenever you are injured at work. You could be missing out on substantial benefits if you don’t know your legal rights.

A workers comp lawyer can also help you resolve any liens that the insurance company has placed on your third party case. Many times the money saved here will pay for the attorney fee alone.

To speak with an experienced workers compensation lawyer, call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation. We will fight to make sure that you receive fair compensation for your work injury.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers comp benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

Video: Injured at work? Advice from a Michigan workers comp lawyer

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04/01/2012
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