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When Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Work Injury?

Published on Oct 24, 2018 at 2:55 pm in Personal Injury.

Suffering an injury on the job can create a number of setbacks and concerns for victims and their families. That’s especially true if injuries are severe enough to require extensive medical treatment, long recoveries, and limited opportunity to work and earn needed wages. Fortunately, there are systems in place designed to help injured workers harmed as a result of the work they perform and provide them with compensation. Choosing the right pathway to compensation and navigating it effectively, however, is not always a simple task.

At Shrager & Sachs, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers provide injured victims and their families with the guidance needed to navigate the civil justice system, including victims who suffered injuries on the job as a result of preventable accidents and therefore have the ability to pursue civil personal injury lawsuits outside of workers’ compensation. From helping clients understand their rights and options to tenaciously fighting for the full financial recoveries they deserve, we work toward the best outcome possible.

What About Workers’ Compensation?

Whether you were involved in a construction accident, a car accident, or another incident while at work, your work-related injury is likely covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp can be important for workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, as it can provide wage supplementation while they recover, vocational rehabilitation services, and needed medical treatment – even if a worker caused their own injuries.

While workers’ compensation is important, especially since it is a no-fault system, there are times when injured workers may have other available options. This includes a civil personal injury lawsuit. Typically, these lawsuits require victims to prove that the negligent or wrongful acts of another party, who isn’t their employer (except in rare circumstances), more likely than not caused them harm. When successful, victims can hold at-fault parties financially liable for their damages, and recover a larger scope of damages that may not have been available to them under workers’ compensation, including damages for their pain and suffering.

Personal Injury Lawsuits: Your Options

If you believe you might have a potential personal injury case for a work-related injury, our attorneys can review your accident and help you explore your available options. Common examples of situations where you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit over a work-related injury include:

  • Third party liability – If the negligent or wrongful acts of a third party (meaning a party that is not your employer) caused your injuries, you may be able to pursue a civil personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. Third party liability can exist in many ways. Common examples may include negligent contractors who cause accidents on construction sites to another company’s employee, or auto accidents caused by negligent motorists with whom workers do not work. Exploring whether third party liability plays a role in your case is critical to initiating further legal action.
  • Premises liability – Some workers perform their jobs at various locations, rather than a single place of employment. When they suffer injuries while working on another’s property, there may be opportunities to pursue personal injury lawsuits based on the legal concept of premises liability. Under premises liability laws, property owners are required to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those on their property, and they can potentially be held liable when failures to do so result in preventable accidents and injuries. This may be the case when a property owner knew or should have known about some dangerous condition on their property, but did not fix it and allowed workers to perform their jobs under greater risks as a result.
  • Product liability – Nearly any type of job requires workers to use products, though these can range from simple consumer products to specialized tools, machinery, and equipment. Under product liability laws, manufacturers that defectively design, produce, or market unsafe products that later cause injuries to those who use them can be held liable for victims’ damages.
  • Exposure to harmful substances – Workers who suffer injuries, illnesses, and other adverse effects caused by exposure to toxic and harmful substances may have grounds to pursue a civil lawsuit, or toxic tort, against the manufacturer or party responsible for that substance or material. This may happen when workers endure chemical and toxic exposure by working on certain properties or with certain tools or materials.
  • Assault – While it is generally the case that most workers will not be able to sue their employer for work-related injuries, there are some exceptions. This includes injuries that result from intentional harm, assaults, and other willful acts an employer takes against an employee. Evaluating whether workers in this situation may have a potential civil lawsuit requires the insight of experienced lawyers.

Shrager & Sachs: Put 80+ Years of Experience on Your Side

Shrager & Sachs is comprised of top-rated and nationally recognized personal injury lawyers who leverage over 80 years of collective experience, insight gained from handling thousands of cases, and a passion for ethical and compassionate representation to fight for victims and families across Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania. If you or someone you love has suffered a work injury and believe you may have a potential civil lawsuit, our team is available to evaluate the merits of your claim, explain your rights and options, and fight for the compensation you require.

To speak with a lawyer during a free case evaluation, contact us.

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