The workers’ compensation program does not rely on fault to provide you with medical coverage after an accident, but it does prevent you from suing your employer.
However, if the accident involves the negligence of a third party, you may still be able to pursue a legal action and recover other damages.
Motor vehicle accidents
If you are driving a company vehicle, and another driver runs a red light and smashes into you, you may hold that driver liable for your pain and suffering, lost wages, future wages, disfigurement and more. The driver’s insurance may cover these, but if you do not receive adequate compensation to cover your losses, you may sue that driver.
Rarely do workers perform their job duties without the use of equipment. When that equipment is faulty, the manufacturer and the retailer that sold it may be liable for your damages.
A defect may be the result of a bad design, a manufacturing issue or problems with the instructions and warnings for use of the product. So, for example, if a power tool malfunctions and catches fire, burning your hands severely, you may sue the manufacturer.
Toxic tort claim
Chemicals, asbestos, lead paint and other substances can cause serious, permanent damage. Exposure in the workplace could result in a claim against the manufacturer of the substance. Alternately, you may have a claim if you used personal protective equipment such as a mask and it did not prevent you from sustaining harm.
Perhaps you work for a company that contracts with other service providers. If another company creates an unsafe working environment and it causes you harm, you may be able to sue that company. For example, if a cleaning company leaves a wet floor in your work area but does not put up a sign, that hazard could cause a fall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20% of falls result in serious harm such as broken bones or traumatic brain injury.