Suing an Employer or Coworker for a Workplace Injury

In most cases, if your workplace injury qualifies for workers’ compensation, you can’t sue your employer. Many state laws require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, which acts as a protection for the employer as much as for the employee. If this is the situation you’ve found yourself in, you might wonder if there are exceptions or another place you can turn to gain more than you’d gain from workers’ compensation.

Third Parties

If there was a third party involved in your workplace accident, you might be able to sue that party. For example, you could receive workers’ compensation from a workplace injury involving large machinery such as a forklift. If the forklift malfunctioned, the forklift manufacturer could be a third party you could sue.

Another example includes a coworker who attacked you in the office. For example, if you were having a political discussion with an employer, the discussion got heated, and the coworker punched you, you’d probably qualify for workers’ compensation. You might also be entitled to sue that coworker for your injuries.

Exceptions for the Employer

While most cases don’t allow you to sue an employer, there are some exceptions. The following are just a few.

  • Intentional injury – If you are able to prove through evidence your employer intentionally caused your injury, you may be able to sue him or her on top of receiving workers’ compensation.
  • Gross negligence – Some employers fail to post workers’ comp compliance notices, or fail to provide the proper safety gear to employees, even though they know they are supposed to. This type of gross negligence could result in a lawsuit.
  • Denied claims – When an employer denies a workers’ comp claim in bad faith, you may be able to go after him or her with a lawsuit instead.
  • Business relationships – If your employer has a certain type of business relationship with a subcontractor or independent contractor, he or she may be involved in a lawsuit you’d file against the contractor.


If your employer retaliates after you receive a workers’ compensation settlement, you may be able to sue him or her. For example, if you lose your job while you are in the hospital, and there’s no other reason than the employer is punishing you for filing a claim, you could sue him or her for unfair treatment.

Getting Your Lawyer Involved

When you’re hurt on the job, you’re often entitled to workers’ compensation, but you may be able to sue someone for more as well. Contact work injury attorneys, like from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., today to get him or her involved as you figure out where to seek compensation.