If you have been contemplating whether or not you should sue your employer for work related injuries or illnesses you’ve sustained on the job, you are always welcome to give our experienced workers compensation lawyers a call today for a free consultation. In addition, we have also provided some insightful information on our website. Read on to learn more about when you can sue an employer for work related injuries in Georgia.
How Workers Compensation Prevents You from Suing Your Employer
As we all know, accidents can take place when we least expect it. Even at our jobs. That’s why the majority of business owners throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area make it a point to obtain Workers Compensation Insurance. This particular type of insurance ensures that should an employee suffer injuries on the job, then the company can avoid being sued by the injured employee. Instead, the company’s workers compensation insurance will pay for the injured worker’s necessary medical care and lost wages. However, this wasn’t always the case.
It wasn’t until 1920 that Georgia Legislature enacted the first Georgia Workers’ Compensation laws. Until then, if a worker was hurt on the job they were left with two options: (1) to sue their employer for any work related injuries or (2) to suffer in silence. Neither of these two options were an easy choice, but many workers suffering from more severe injuries ultimately decided to file a lawsuit against their employer in order to seek financial relief. One of the most pressing issues that workers faced after choosing to sue their employer was the length of time it often took to settle their case. Court battles between injured employees and their employers often could drag on for years. In the meantime, workers were left to figure out how to cover their medical bills and daily expenses while being out of work due to their injuries.
With the workers compensation system workers don’t have to wait nearly as long to get the monetary compensation they deserve. The workers compensation system Georgia has today is both beneficial to employers and employees. On one hand it offers employers limited liability and prevents them from being sued, and on the other hand it affords injured employees (especially those who may end up being out of work for an extended period of time) the ability to cover their routine expenses, such as rent and utilities, as well as afford the medical care they need.
However, in order to take advantage of these workers compensation benefits the employee is required to make injury claims against their employer through a workers’ compensation claim instead of a lawsuit. This is the only way you can go about seeking remedies for a work-related accident or occupational disease. Although, there are some exceptions to the rule. Read on to learn when you legally can sue your employer for a work injury or illness and more than likely win your case.
Circumstances Where You Can Sue Your Employer for a Work Injury or Illness
So far we have explained how workers compensation prevents you from suing your employer. But, as we mentioned, there are some exceptions to the rule. You can file a lawsuit against your employer if you are able to prove that your employer intentionally harmed you by way of an intentional act. For instance, if your boss physically assaulted you then that would count as intentional harm. Your employer failing to protect your health or safety (also known as negligence) would not be considered intentional harm. Unfortunately, carelessness is not sufficient to an internal harm in this case, even in the most extreme form.
Most importantly, if you work for an employer who does not carry workers compensation insurance then you have the right to pursue a lawsuit in order to recover your financial losses. Read on to learn what you should do if you work for an employer who does not carry workers compensation insurance.
What to Do If My Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers Compensation
As we mentioned before, most employers pay a set amount into workers compensation insurance throughout the calendar year so that if an employee is injured on the job, then the workers comp insurance will cover the employee’s injuries, medical bills, loss wages and other resulting expenses. The workers comp system is looked at as a “no fault system.” Injuries are viewed as an inevitable aspect of work relationships, because accidents can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone, even when it’s most unexpected. So there is no need to prove that your employer or a particular individual was the cause of your injury.
However, if you work for an employer that does not carry workers compensation insurance then you have the legal right to pursue a lawsuit for any injury that took place on the job. Currently, the only state that allows employers to not have any form of workers compensation insurance is Texas. So if an employer in Georgia doesn’t have sufficient workers compensation insurance or no insurance at all, it is because they have broken the law. Therefore, you will need to take your employer to civil court and prove the cause(s) of your injuries were job related in order to recover damages.
Here are some of the damages you can recover when you sue your employer:
• Lost wages
• Reimbursement for medical treatment
• Compensation for any permanent impairment
• Pain and suffering
• Punitive damages
In order to sue your employer for work injuries or illnesses you will need to file your personal injury lawsuit in the state where your employer is located, or where the injury took place, and in the state where you live. As with any legal dispute, it is imperative that you speak with a practicing attorney, such as one of our experienced workers compensation lawyers in Atlanta, GA, here at the Law Office of John B. Jackson. Your workers comp lawyer’s top priorities are to inform you about your rights and to make sure you receive the maximum level of benefits that you rightfully deserve.
Also serving: Carrollton and Douglasville, GA