As a rule, workers' compensation insurance is an exclusive remedy for employees who get injured on the job. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. There are cases for which you may seek personal injury compensation in addition to or instead of workers' compensation benefits. Here are three examples of these situations.
Defective Product Injuries
If your workplace injury is caused by a defective product, then you may pursue a personal injury claim against the liable third party in addition to filing a workers' compensation claim. Consider an example of a carpenter who uses a defective saw that cuts off his or her finger. In this case, you deserve compensation from the liable third party, such as the manufacturer or vendor of the saw.
Injuries Caused By a Third Party On Your Employers Premises
Employees do not always work on their employers' premises. For example, a plumber may be sent to work on a residential or commercial building outside his or her employer's property. If you are such an employee working on a third party's property, and you get injured, then you may lodge a personal injury claim against this party. Of course, this is only possible if the third party is directly responsible for your injury.
Continuing with the example of the plumber, assume you are fixing plumbing pipes in a restaurant, and a fire breakout causes you serious injuries. Also, suppose that investigators link the fire to the negligence of an electrical contractor. In this case, you may pursue personal injury compensation from the electrical contractor or even the restaurant that hired him or her.
Injuries Caused By A Third Party On His Or Her Premises
The fact that you are on your employer's property doesn't mean the employer is the only one who can cause you injuries. Other people, such as visitors to the premises, delivery vans or even trespassers, may also cause you injuries. For example, a drunken customer may lose control of his or her car and cause an accident on your employer's property. In this case, the customer is liable for your injuries, and you can instigate an accident claim against him or her.
As you can see, you shouldn't always assume that workers' compensation is your exclusive remedy if you get injured on the job. If you suspect somebody else (apart from your employer) is responsible for your injuries, contact a lawyer like Locklin & Mordhorst to evaluate your case and advise you on the way forward.