Many workers assume that the only way to obtain compensation for an on-the-job injury is to file a Louisiana workers' compensation claim. While this is true in most cases, there are certain situations where injured employees are allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation from their employer or a third party.
There are two advantages to filing a personal injury claim outside of the state's workers' compensation system:
- Personal injury claims have higher limits on compensation than workers' compensation claims.
- Personal injury claims also allow you to recover additional forms of compensation that are not available under workers' compensation, such as pain and suffering and punitive damages.
There are several examples of situations where you can file a lawsuit over a workplace injury:
If your injury was caused by a product that was defective, did not work properly or was inherently dangerous, you might be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. You will have to prove that the manufacturer knew the product was dangerous or did not adequately warn you or your employer about the dangers.
You may also be able to file a complaint with the Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Toxic Products or Substances
Employees in certain industries work with dangerous chemicals and substances, including asbestos, benzene, chromium compounds and silica.
These substances can cause acute or latent injuries. An acute injury is a disease that does not display symptoms immediately, such as severe burns or poisoning. A latent injury is something like cancer or lung disease which do not cause symptoms immediately.
If you were injured from a toxic substance, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the substance and possibly the manufacturer of safety equipment that was used to handle the substance.
Intentional or Egregious Actions by Your Employer
In rare circumstances, Louisiana allows employees to file personal injury lawsuits against their employers if they can prove that their injuries were a result of their employer's negligence.
For instance, an employee could sue if he was injured while working in a dirt trench that was deeper than federal safety standards and his employer intentionally refused to provide sufficient safety equipment.
However, you cannot file this type of lawsuit if you are employed by the federal government.
Having an experienced Baton Rouge personal injury attorney can help you to answer these types of questions and determine your eligiblity for a damages claim.
Your Employer Does Not Have Workers' Compensation Insurance
There are some exceptions, but almost all public and private employers in Louisiana have to have workers' compensation insurance. If your employer does not have insurance and you suffer an on-the-job injury, you could file a civil lawsuit. However, unlike a workers' compensation claim, you will have to prove your employer was at fault for your injury.
Injuries Caused by a Third Party
If you were involved in a car accident on your way to a meeting with a client and you were driving a company car, you could file a lawsuit against the other driver. If you are able to prove the other driver was at fault, you could recover compensation for your injuries and other damages from the accident.
Simien & Simien's personal injury attorneys can carefully review your claim to find out if you can file a lawsuit over your workplace injury. We can help guide you through the legal process, working to recover the compensation you deserve for your work-related injury or illness. Contact us right away to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you.