One of the most common questions our clients ask us regarding Workers Compensation claims in North Carolina is: can I sue an employer for a work injury? Generally, the answer to the question is no. However, to fully understand this answer, we must take a look at what exactly a Worker’s Compensation claim is in North Carolina.
Workers Compensation Claims In North Carolina
Workers Compensation claims in NC are insurance claims made by employees to their employers for a work injury that occurs in the work place. In order to meet these claims, employers are required by NC to contribute towards Workers Compensation insurance for each employee. This NC Workers Compensation insurance covers all work place injuries. However, if a worker files a Workers Compensation claim, they generally cannot sue their employer due to the fact that Workers Compensation insurance protects both employers and employees from negligence, absent any extenuating circumstances.
Although employees are generally barred from suing their employers for a work injury in order to be able to claim NC Workers Compensation benefits, there are certain situations that exist that allow an employee to sue their employer. The first situation is where the employer intentionally engaged in specific misconduct, while knowing with substantial certainty that serious bodily injury or death would result from the misconduct. The second applicable situation is where an employer intentionally hurts an employee. If one of these two situations exist, an employee can pursue a civil action against their employer.
Additionally, when a work injury is caused by a third party (someone other then the employee or employer) in NC, the employee can file a lawsuit against the third party while being eligible for Worker’s Compensation benefits through their employer. This is due to the fact that the injury occurred at the work place, therefore the employee is entitled to their NC Workers Compensation benefits. Since the third party was the primary cause of the injury, the third party can then be held liable for their actions.
If you or someone you know has a work injury, you should Contact Us for a free consultation. By contacting an experienced NC Workers Compensation attorney, you will receive valuable legal advice and an experienced guide through the complex NC Workers Compensation process.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.