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Can you sue your employer if you are injured on the job?

West Virginia employers are generally required to carry workers' compensation insurance, which provides benefits to employees in the event of a workplace injury. By providing employees with this benefit, employees are typically protected from personal injury claims brought against them by an injured employee.

Can you sue an employer for a work injury? Generally, employees are barred from suing their employers for workplace injuries, because their sole remedy against the employer is the no-fault workers' compensation system. However, there are rare instances where a civil lawsuit against the employer is allowed.

If an employee was injured at work and there is evidence his or her employer intentionally caused the injury, an employee could bring a suit for an intentional tort. This legal action is typically brought for intentional torts such as battery, assault or false imprisonment.

Employees can also bring a suit for injuries in the workplace caused by non-employer third parties. For example, if defective equipment in the workplace caused a workplace accident, an injured employee could file a suit against the equipment's manufacturer. It should be noted, however, that if an employee is awarded damages in this suit, he or she may have to pay a portion of the award back to his or her employer for any workers' compensation benefits received.

If you seek to collect workers' compensation benefits or file an action against a third party, it is essential to understand the rights afforded to you. This will help ensure you recover the benefits you are entitled to.

Source:, "Workers' Compensation: Can I Sue My Employer Instead?" accessed Oct. 30, 2016

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Stephen P. New, Attorney at Law
114 Main Street
Beckley, WV 25801

Phone: 304-250-3280
Toll Free: 888-692-8084
Fax: 304-250-6012

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