I Was Hurt At Work; Can I “Sue” My Employer??

Date: January 6, 2012

Question: You’ve been injured on the job. Your employer has acknowledged the claim and has paid your wage loss benefits and is paying for your work related medical expenses. Can you now sue your employer in a civil case seeking additional damges for pain and suffering, future losss of earnings, etc.?

ANSWER: Generally speaking, NO. The Pa. Workers Compensation Act contains provisons which hold that a workers compensation claim is the exclusive remedy available to an injured employee against his employer for injuries suffered on the job. The Act states “the liability of an employer under this act shall be exclusive and in place of any and all other liability to such employes, his legal representative, husband or wife, parents, dependents, next of kin or anyone otherwise entitled to damages in any action at law or otherwise on account of any injury or death” suffered in course and scope of employment.

However, if the work-related injury suffered by an employee is caused by the negligence of a third party, then the employee may bring a civil action seeking damages against the negligent third party.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.