If you sustained an injury on the job, the exclusive remedy for your job-related injuries would typically include workers’ compensation benefits. When an employer offers these benefits, they have immunity from being sued by their injured employees. The exclusivity provision is what protects employers from facing these personal injury claims. When your employer offers workers’ compensation benefits, you can only receive those benefits and cannot pursue a personal injury claim. However, there are some exceptions to that rule. A workers’ compensation attorney can explain more about what the exclusivity provision is in workers’ compensation and whether you can file a personal injury claim.
How the Exclusivity Provision Works in Workers’ Compensation
The exclusivity provision relieves injured workers while safeguarding employers from those employees receiving an excessive recovery. For your employer to have coverage under the exclusivity provision, your injury must have occurred during your employment and arisen from your employment. In addition, your injury can’t connect to a preexisting condition.
If a typical workplace accident occurs, and there is a link between your job and injury, your employer will have protections under exclusivity provision laws. Therefore, you could only receive workers’ compensation benefits and not have the opportunity to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Exceptions to the Exclusivity Provision in Workers’ Compensation
While the exclusivity provision in workers’ compensation often protects the employer, there are instances where you could still file a personal injury claim. If these exceptions occur in your case, you could file a civil suit while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Dual Capacity of Your Employer
According to Labor Code § 3600, exclusive remedy in a workers’ compensation case only applies when your injuries result from employment conditions. An example of an exception would include if you sustained injuries from a product your employer manufactured. In this case, the employer would have to provide both workers’ compensation benefits and could potentially face a personal injury lawsuit.
Three states across the country allow employees to sue based on dual capacity. They include California, Michigan, and Illinois.
Your Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If your employer doesn’t carry the necessary workers’ compensation insurance, you could file a personal injury claim against them. While many employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, they don’t all have to. A personal injury attorney can determine whether your case qualifies you to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
You Sustained Injuries Due to Your Employer’s Intentional Acts
If you sustained injuries because of intentional acts by your employer, such as assault, you could file a personal injury claim against them. Another example could include your employer asking another employee to assault you. A personal injury attorney could investigate that assault to determine whether you are eligible for a personal injury case.
Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover injuries that are an inherent risk on the job. Getting assaulted by your employer does not count as an inherent risk. By filing a personal injury claim against your employer in these circumstances, you could recover compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, and other damages.
Your Employer Fraudulently Conceals Your Injury
If your employer fraudulently conceals your injury or the source of your injury, you could have the potential to both receive workers’ compensation benefits and file a personal injury claim. You could sue your employer on the grounds of fraudulent concealment if your employer:
- Concealed a material fact
- Knew about the material fact
- Concealed the material fact to mislead you of the true condition of the workplace
- Caused damages to you as a result of the concealment
For example, let’s say you develop an illness consistent with mold exposure. If you alert your employer, and they know about the mold but don’t inform you of it, they fraudulently concealed the fact that you did indeed have mold exposure.
Your Employer Did Not Adhere to Employment Laws
Federal and state governments have laws that employers must adhere to. Employers open themselves up to potential lawsuits if they don’t comply.
For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that employers must accommodate employees with disabilities. If you have a disability that your employer knows about, they must accommodate that. If they don’t, and you sustain injuries, you could file a personal injury claim. If you use a wheelchair, and your employer doesn’t have proper ramps or accessibility options, and you fall trying to get up a curb, you could sue for the resulting injuries.
An Attorney Can Help You Determine Whether Your Case Falls Under the Exclusivity Provision
If you sustained an injury at work and don’t know whether your case falls under the exclusivity provision, an attorney can help. They can review the circumstances of your case to determine whether you qualify for only workers’ compensation benefits or have the right to file a civil suit.
In either case, an attorney can help you through the workers’ compensation claims process. They can also help you file a civil claim if you qualify. You can hold your employer accountable by having an attorney by your side.
Does Your Case Fall Under the Exclusivity Provision? Find Out in a Free Case Review
At KJT Law Group, we can review your case and explain your legal options. When you work with our firm, you can expect to work directly with your attorney. Our clients are our highest priority. With our aggressive and compassionate legal counsel, we have recovered millions for past clients. In addition, our legal team can help you determine whether you have a case against your employer.
Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (818) 507-8525. Our team can help you navigate the workers’ compensation system and determine if your case falls under exclusivity provisions. At our firm, we don’t charge any upfront fees or costs. You don’t pay us unless we help you reach a successful outcome with your case.