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Does Workers’ Compensation Prevent Workers From Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

May 29, 2020 - Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Work With an Experienced Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney

In Alabama — and throughout the country — a large percentage of employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured while on the job.  Workers’ compensation benefits pay out irrespective of the employer’s fault.  As such, they are an excellent tool for securing compensation to cover losses — but they are somewhat incomplete.

For example, workers’ compensation benefits do not pay out for pain and suffering damages.  In some cases, this can mean that you are sacrificing hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential compensation.

Where possible, it’s worth contact an Tuscaloosa injury attorney to explore the option of bringing a lawsuit against those who were responsible, as this will give the injured plaintiff access to a more comprehensive set of damages.

Let’s dive in.

Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury in Alabama

In Alabama, as in other states, workers who are eligible to receive workers’ compensation are prohibited from bringing a lawsuit against their employer in a civil suit (based around the same injuries).  If you slip-and-fall on a wet floor while at work, for example, then you would not be entitled to sue your employer for damages (assuming that workers’ compensation benefits covered the injury).

This prohibition can put quite a damper on injured plaintiffs who feel wronged and are interested in seeking more complete justice in the civil courts — but all is not lost!  There may be litigation options.

Who Can You Sue?

Injured workers are encouraged to identify third-parties who may have contributed to their injuries.  For example, if you are injured in a machine-related accident in a factory, you could ostensibly sue the manufacturer of the machine in a product defect lawsuit.  These third-party defendants are not protected by the workers’ compensation prohibitions against a lawsuit.

Injured workers may also be able to sue their employer (avoiding the workers’ compensation prohibition), but only if they can prove that their employer recklessly or intentionally caused the injuries at issue.

For example, if you can show that your employer knew that the floor was wet and thereby posed a serious slip-and-fall risk, but decided against having the floor cleaned as they were more concerned about preserving hourly production output (as opposed to taking care of worker safety), then you might arguably be able to sue the employer on the basis that they showcased a reckless disregard for worker safety.

Contact a Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney at Cross & Smith for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an on-the-job accident, then you may not only be entitled to workers’ compensation but may also have a right to sue certain defendants for additional damages to cover your losses.

Workers’ compensation has a rather nuanced interaction with personal injury litigation in Alabama, so it’s important that you work with a qualified attorney who can identify a winning strategy and help guide you through the process.

Here at Cross & Smith, our team has decades of experience representing injured plaintiffs in Alabama, including those who have been injured while working.  We work closely with our clients to ensure that we have the information and insight necessary to advocate on their behalf more effectively.

Call us at 205-391-0618 or send us an intake form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm today.

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"I have been friends with Dell Cross since we were roommates at UA Law and have had the pleasure of conferring with Cross & Smith, LLC in a professional capacity for many years. As a law office which specializes in domestic relations and family law matters, it is imperative that my office maintain a consistent client referral relationship with a law firm which can effectively address personal injury matters brought to us by our clients."