You may have heard that when you’re injured at work, you are covered by workers’ compensation. You may also have heard that you don’t have the ability to sue your employer for additional damages. When you’re injured at work, but someone else is the reason for your injury, this can be frustrating, especially when the scope of damages far exceeds the cap on your worker’s comp coverage.
The good news is that while you can’t sue your employer, in some cases you can sue another individual whose negligence led to your injury. It’s vital, however, that you understand how workers’ compensation works so you can take the right steps when necessary to get coverage. Learn your options if you’re hurt by a coworker, and where to go when you need help from a qualified South Carolina personal injury attorney.
In general, almost every employee is covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. What this means is that if you’re hurt during the course of employment, whether it’s tripping and falling, straining your back lifting a heavy box, or even getting hurt in a car accident en route to see a client, you can have your medical bills covered.
What it also means, however, is that you forfeit in most cases your ability to sue your employer for additional damages. This means that you cannot collect for things like lost future wages, damage to your life and relationships, or pain and suffering.
When You’re Hurt by a Coworker
However, when you are injured by the negligence of a coworker, you can sometimes file suit against that person to collect damages under personal injury law. This is especially true if your coworker was not engaged in work activities at the time. For example, if you get hurt while on your lunch break, during a fight with another employee, or while engaging in horseplay, you might be able to sue your coworker for damages.
Filing Suit Against a Coworker
When you file suit against a coworker, the process is the same as with any other personal injury case. You must prove three things, the first being that your coworker had a basic duty of care towards you, that they violated this duty, and that this violation led to your injury.
In a case between two individuals, this often comes down to either deliberate aggressive action, or one person exercising a serious lack of common sense. This latter is known as the “reasonable person” standard; that is, one person acted in a way that is not consistent with the way a reasonable person would.
Seeking Help and Advice
Whenever you’re injured at work, you should seek help and advice from a qualified South Carolina injury attorney. If you have a workers’ comp claim, an attorney can help ensure you get the coverage you deserve. If it’s a personal injury claim, an attorney can make sure your rights are protected and you get the full settlement to which you’re entitled. If you’re not sure which to file, an attorney can help you decide.
If you’ve been hurt and need counsel, call the experienced attorneys at Harris and Graves for a free consultation and to start with your case today.