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If You're Injured by a Coworker, What Can You Do?

If You're Injured by a Coworker, What Can You Do?

Posted By The Dunnion Law Firm || 16-Feb-2017

When you’re hurt at work, usually you are protected by workers’ compensation laws. These laws require your employer to carry insurance that protects you in case you get injured to the point where you’re unable to come back to work. They cover your medical bills and part of your lost wages, and don’t require you to prove fault.

In some cases, however, you might get injured by a coworker in a circumstance that isn’t directly related to, or in the course of your job. In such circumstances, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that coworker. Read about what happens when you’re hurt by a coworker, when you can file a lawsuit, and why you should always hire a qualified injury attorney for help.

When You’re Hurt by a Coworker

Normally, even if you’re hurt by a coworker, you’ll be covered by workers’ compensation laws. Consider, for example, if you’re at work and a fellow employee spills coffee on the floor in the hallway. You’re headed to the bathroom and you slip and fall, getting an injury. Since this injury occurred during the normal course of your workday while you’re on the clock, you could file for workers’ compensation for your injuries.

Worker’s comp covers your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. Under current laws, simply by accepting a job where you’re covered by this insurance (which is almost all jobs), you forfeit your ability to sue your employer for further damages.

When It Doesn’t Apply

There are certain specific circumstances, however, in which workers’ comp doesn’t apply. If the accident occurs while you’re on your own time—such as on your lunch hour—you won’t necessarily be able to file a compensation claim.

Likewise, if you’re engaged in behavior that’s not sanctioned by the job—goofing off or if your fellow worker assaults you, for example—you can seek other avenues to collect damages. In these cases, you might be able to file a personal injury claim against the worker who hurt you.

What Can I Collect?

Again, workers’ compensation only allows you to recover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages while you’re off work. Under a standard injury case, you can collect far more in damages, including medical bills, full lost wages, lost future earning potential, reduced quality of life, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, damage to personal relationships and more.

However, getting these damages requires taking the right approach. You’ll need not only to prove that the injury doesn’t fall under worker’s compensation coverage, but that your coworker was negligent, causing you damage, or deliberately attempted to harm you.

Categories: Personal Injury