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Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws protect workers who are hurt on the job by providing benefits such as medical care and financial assistance if the employee cannot return to work while he or she is recovering.  However, the workers’ compensation system also shields employers from being sued by their workers. Workers’ comp is an exclusive remedy for almost every workplace injury. In other words, if you are hurt at work, your only recourse is to file a workers’ comp claim.

However, there are limited circumstances where you may be able to sue a third party if you are hurt at work. If another party causes your injury, you may be able to sue that party. For example, if you are injured in a traffic accident while you are driving for your job, you can sue the driver who caused the collision. Another example would be if you were injured by a defective product while at work. You could file a product liability lawsuit against the party responsible for the defect (i.e. designer, manufacturer, retailer, etc.).

Suing your employer is much more difficult. In most cases, you must be able to prove that your employer intentionally tried to cause you harm. An unsafe working environment may or may not rise to the level of an “intentional act.” Your best option is to meet with a workers’ compensation lawyer. Our attorneys offer free consultations for workers who have been injured on the job.

Are Violations of OSHA Rules An Intentional Act?

This is a complex legal question. The answer will depend on the specific facts of the case.  You may think that the law would make an exception if the employer knowingly allowed employees to work in an unsafe environment and refused to do anything to correct the problem. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation laws are not clear on how an unsafe working environment impacts a workers’ compensation claim.

For example, if your employer violates OSHA regulations, your employer may face fines and other penalties. However, if you are injured due to the OSHA violation, you may be restricted to filing a workers’ comp claim. The problem with this exclusive remedy for workplace injuries lies in the difference in damages available in a workers’ comp claim versus a personal injury claim.

In a workers’ compensation claim, you are limited to certain benefits. You are not entitled to receive full compensation for lost wages. You are also not entitled to receive compensation for future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, physical pain, mental anguish, and mental suffering. Filing a personal injury claim can result in additional compensation that is not available in a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, you may not be able to file a personal injury claim. You may be limited to a workers’ compensation claim.

Call A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Form More Information

If you have been injured at work due to an unsafe working environment, you may be able to sue your employer; however, our attorneys cannot answer this question until they review the specific facts of your case. Contact The Ken Nunn Law Office at 1-800-CALL-KEN or 1-800-225-5536 for a free legal consultation.