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Can You Sue Your Employer Outside of Workers’ Comp?

Wilson & McQueen May 25, 2021

If you sustain an injury on the job, you can likely recover some sort of compensation from your employer. In most cases, the law entitles you to workers’ compensation benefits. If it does, you will unlikely be able to recover compensation via a lawsuit.

There are several benefits to the workers’ compensation system, one of the biggest of which is that benefits are almost guaranteed. If you can prove that your injury is work-related, your employer may have no choice but to compensate you. However, the system does come with a few drawbacks, such as the fact that it limits the types of damages you may collect. For instance, you cannot recover for punitive or emotional damages under workers’ comp. These limitations may cause you to wonder if you can file a lawsuit against your employer. According to FindLaw, there are some common instances in which you may sue you do so.

Your Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation

All but the state of Texas requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Though coverage requirements vary from state to state, if your Kentucky employer does not have insurance — or if he or she carries inadequate insurance — he or she is in violation of the law. In this case, you can file a lawsuit against the company for which you work to recover sufficient damages for your work-related injury or illness.

Your Employer Intentionally Injured You

The second instance in which you may sue your employer outside of workers’ compensation is if your employer intentionally caused you harm. For this to be the case, he or she must have gone out of his or her way to engage in behavior that was intended to hurt you specifically. For example, if your employer punched you in the face and broke your jaw, you may be able to sue him or her. However, if the blow was the result of extreme negligence or carelessness and not malicious intent, it would not be sufficient to amount to intentional harm.

Suing your employer for work-related harms and winning is a long shot. However, it is not impossible and, under the right circumstances, and with the right help, you may be able to prevail.