Can I Sue My Employer For Negligence?
The job site is one of the most common places for accidents to happen. As a result, you could be left suffering serious personal injuries. This can have serious effects on your home or personal life while resulting in lost wages and mountains of medical expenses. Your injuries could also impact your ability to work or perform certain tasks required on the job, not only now but for years into the future. In cases where an employer’s negligence is responsible, you have the right to hold them accountable. Find out how you can sue your employer and the compensation you may be entitled to in this type of claim.
When To Sue Your Employer Versus Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim
When accidental injuries or occupational illnesses happen on the job site, you may be entitled to file a claim through the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. These benefits are mandated by federal law and administered through each state, acting as a form of insurance. Workers’ compensation pays for your medical expenses, reimburses a portion of your lost wages, and provides additional amounts in the event your injuries or illness prevent you from working or performing important tasks on the job.
Workers’ compensation covers mishaps that frequently occur on job sites, such as overuse or repetitive stress injuries, slips and falls, getting struck by or against objects, and work-related motor vehicle accidents. Even if you are partially to blame, you may still be entitled to coverage, provided you did not violate any rules or regulations in the workplace, engage in criminal activity, or were under the influence of alcohol at the time.
When should you file for workers’ compensation benefits versus suing your employer for negligence? Workers’ compensation operates on a no-fault basis, meaning that you do not have to prove your employer was at fault. In order to sue your employer, the opposite is true: you must show that their reckless actions were to blame. This makes suing your employer more difficult, but there are certain benefits:
Workers’ compensation only pays a portion of your lost wages. In a lawsuit, you can recover the full amount.
Workers’ compensation only pays for your current medical treatment. A lawsuit covers any ongoing or future medical care and treatment you are likely to require as a direct result of your injuries.
Workers’ compensation pays long-term disability benefits, which again represent a portion of your income. You can sue your employer for the full amount of estimated future losses in wages, as well as for lost bonuses and benefits.
Workers’ compensation does not provide for pain, suffering, or punitive damages, which can represent a significant portion of your lawsuit.
Circumstances In Which You Can Sue An Employer
Suing your employer for negligence can entitle you to additional amounts you would otherwise not get in a workers’ compensation claim. You can also file a negligence lawsuit in situations that would otherwise not be covered. However, you will need to prove negligence.
You must be able to show that your employer's negligent actions were directly responsible for your injuries. Negligence is a legal term that means taking actions a reasonable person would not take in a similar situation or failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent personal injuries. Examples of negligence in a lawsuit filed against an employer include:
Forcing employees to operate broken, dangerous, or improperly maintained equipment;
Forcing them to complete potentially dangerous tasks without the proper safety protections;
Failing to warn them of hazards on the job site;
Failing to properly train them for their role or a specific assignment;
Failing to properly maintain the workplace in general, such as allowing loose wiring, wet floors, and other hazards;
Failing to penalize or remove employees who put co-workers at risk;
Failing to properly protect employees, suppliers, and others by providing appropriate security on the job site.
The Advantages Of Suing Your Employer In A Negligence Lawsuit
When on the job injuries or illnesses happen on a job site as a direct result of an employer's negligence, you may have the right to sue the company. You may also sue the business owner, your manager, or even a job recruiter, holding them personally liable for any damages you suffer as a result of their negligence. This can have certain advantages:
It may be easier to show their individual negligence, rather than having to prove the entire company was aware of the situation and at fault.
If you work for a larger company, rather than facing a team of attorneys and multiple people involved, you can deal directly with an individual person and whoever their legal counsel. This can cut through a lot of red tape.
It can also make it easier to collect on a settlement, as suing your employer allows for access to their personal finances, including any money, property, or other assets they possess. Wage garnishment, asset seizures, and property liens can all be used in enforcing any final settlements or judgments issued by the court.
Suing your employer for negligence may entitle you to compensation even if you were partially at fault for your injuries. Under Section 15-38-10 of the South Carolina Code, provided you were less than 50 percent responsible, you are still entitled to seek compensation in a claim. The amount you receive as a result will be reduced, but it can still total more than you would otherwise get filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Discuss Your Case With Our Aiken Personal Injury Attorney
Suing your employer for negligence can entitle you to additional damages not available through workers’ compensation. This includes current and future medical expenses and lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages, designed to punish those at fault for particularly willful and reckless conduct. To discuss whether this is an option in your case, reach out to The Surasky Law Firm, LLC. Call or contact our Aiken personal injury attorney online and request a consultation today.