Can I Sue My Employer for a Work Injury?
Exclusivity of Workers’ Compensation Liability
How much do you know about the workers’ compensation system in Ohio? If you’re like most people, you’re aware that if you have a workplace injury, you can file a claim against your employer. Workers compensation benefits are supposed to cover your medical bills and provide you with monetary compensation while you recover from your injuries. However, things are a bit more complicated than that, thanks to some of the exclusivity claims listed in the state laws. These exclusivities prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the employer, as long as they follow all of the workers’ compensation laws. However, there’s a bit more to it than that.
How Workers’ Compensation is Supposed to Work
In most scenarios, when someone is injured at work, and the injury is serious enough to require medical care, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance kicks in. The employer’s insurance pays for the worker’s medical care, and for lost wages as a result of the workplace injury. Limits are imposed by the state, and in most cases, the employer doesn’t file an objection, and everything goes according to plan.
Why Workers Don’t Always Report Their Injuries
In Ohio, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you plan to file a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to inform your employer of your personal injury claims as soon as possible. With that said, some workers do not report their workplace injuries as they should. Sometimes an injured worker is afraid to file the workers comp claim. Even though they know their employer forced them to work in a manner that was detrimental to their health and safety, injured employees are afraid of possible repercussions. In many cases, the injured worker takes it upon himself/herself to pay for the medical care for his/her work induced injury. Employees who are injured and elect not to file a claim, also lose income because they are often unable to work as a result of their injuries. Some injured workers work while injured! No one should ever be in fear of employer repercussions. Call me to discuss your case and I will ensure your job is safe. If you were hurt while in performance of your job, you have the right to be compensated for those injuries.
Reasons employee’s may not file a personal injury claim:
Fear of retaliation
Employees should feel comfortable filing a workers compensation claim. But, there is worry that if they report their injury, their employer will retaliate against them. Worrying about being fired or demoted prevents some employees from seeking workers compensation benefits.
Lack of knowledge about the workers’ compensation system
An employee may not know about workers’ compensation, or may not understand how it works. Workers’ compensation laws establish the framework for injured workers to recover compensation. If you have had a work related injury, call me as soon as possible so that we can discuss your workers compensation eligibility. As a workers’ compensation attorney, I have more than 40 years of experience helping injured workers in Cleveland and throughout Ohio.
Concerns about the cost of medical expenses
Even with workers’ compensation, an employee may have to pay some out-of-pocket costs for medical care. But, they may not be able to afford those costs. Additional lost wages make every workplace injury a little more stressful.
Fear of losing their job
An employee may worry that if they report their injury, they will be seen as a liability and may be let go from their job. Injured workers deserve medical treatment without fear of losing their job. Call me, and I’ll ease your concerns! We will talk about your workers’ compensation claim and your rights as an employee.
Belief that the injury is not serious enough to report
An employee may think that their injury is minor and does not require medical attention or workers’ compensation benefits. Later, their pain becomes worse and they cannot work. As an experienced lawyer, if you’ve been injured at work, regardless of severity, you need to document your injury and any medical care you sought to help you with your injuries. To collect workers compensation, their needs to be documented records of how and when the injury occurred, the medical care that was provided, and the associated expenses for that medical care.
Belief that reporting the injury will be too much of a hassle
An employee may think that the process of reporting their injury and applying for workers’ compensation benefits will be too time-consuming or difficult. Work related injuries occur on a daily basis. Employer’s have insurance because they know they will need to pay workers compensation benefits. I will take care of your workers comp claim and fight for your medical treatment and lost wages.
Lawsuits and Exclusivity
In Ohio, the workers’ compensation system is generally the exclusive remedy for employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness. The state requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance if a personal injury claim arises. This is a protection for you, the injured worker. It’s also there in case you have a case to sue your employer. Their workers’ compensation insurance is intended to cover the costs of your medical care and lost wages, and deter personal injury lawsuits. Employees typically cannot sue their employer for on-the-job injuries.
However, there are some situations in which you can sue your employer for a work-related injury. For example, if you employer intentionally caused the injury, you have a case for a personal injury lawsuit. In Ohio, an employer can be sued for a work-related injury if their conduct was intentional or involved a disregard for the safety of their employees. When employers abuse the power in their relationship with their worker, you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer. If you need to sue your employer, call me anytime, and we’ll review every last detail of your personal injury claim.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may contract COVID-19 on the job. If you believe it was your employer’s fault, there are legal options beyond workers’ compensation. However, most of the time, personal injury lawsuits do not apply. Employers provide workers compensation coverage to avoid a personal injury lawsuit. But, if you have contracted COVID-19, and don’t believe the workers comp benefits covered your care, we can discuss. As an experienced attorney, I have worked with employees whose workers compensation claims weren’t sufficient for injuries caused.
It is important to note that Ohio does not have specific exceptions to the exclusivity rule like some other states do. However, there are situations where an employer’s conduct was intentional or involved a disregard for the safety of their employees. You have the option to sue your employer.
Appropriate personal injury compensation may go beyond what workers comp is providing. In the unfortunate situation where “maximum compensation” does not cover your work related injuries, you need someone in your corner. Your employer’s negligence needs to be addressed, and I will help you file your personal injury lawsuit.
If you’ve been injured at work and believe that you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, call me today and I’ll Make Them Pay!®