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Can I sue my employer for my work injury?

Unfortunately, workplace accidents in Pennsylvania occur all too often, leaving the state's workers injured, disabled or even dead. When these accidents occur due to an employer or co-worker's negligence, it is even more tragic as the accident likely could have been prevented. Many industries in Pennsylvania and elsewhere may have unaddressed hazards present in the workplace causing workers to wonder if they can sue their employer should an accident finally occur.

In most cases, it is not possible to sue an employer for a workplace accident or injury. Instead, the employee is probably covered for these injuries by workers' compensation insurance. Employers are required to provide this insurance with a goal of protecting both the employees and the employers. If injured workers do decide to make a claim, there is a no-fault system in place meaning that the employer will not be held liable.

With that said, Pennsylvania workers should understand that there are certain situations in which a lawsuit against the employer could be filed. If the employer intentionally caused the employee harm, the worker may be able to sue the employer. This kind of litigation is called intentional tort and will cover invasion of privacy, defamation and battery as well as workplace injuries.

Another option is filing a third party lawsuit. Injured employees can pursue this option if they believe an individual or organization apart from the employer caused the injury. For example, if defective equipment caused the injury, the worker may be able to sue the manufacturers.

However injuries in the workplace may occur, employees need to know that they are protected by workers' compensation. Anyone having difficulty with their workers' comp claim should seek immediate assistance from an attorney serving the Pennsylvania workforce.

Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Compensation: Can I Sue My Employer Instead?," accessed Aug. 13, 2015

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