Work related injuries and negligence or can I sue my employer in Pennsylvania? These are questions we frequently get asked here at Dugan & Associates, Lawyers representing injured people. First some background.
For those of you who actively read our blog some of this may be repeat and for those of you who are new, welcome. Generally speaking if you suffer an on the job injury or a work related disability you are entitiled to wage loss and medical benefits. And the injury or disability doesn't have to be due to anyones fault or negligence. Thus if you, for example, bend down to pick something up at work, a box, a tool, a pen, a paperclip etc...you get the point, and all of a sudden you wrench your back and need medical treatment and time off then you can collect workers' compensation wage loss and medical benefits until you get better.
Now let's look at the opposite side of this issue. What about when you are working and clearly, no question whatsoever, you are injured due to the negligence of someone not associated in any way with your employer, what happens? For example you are a delivery driver and while out making deliveries some driver is drunk texting and runs a red light and plows into you. Well first, because you are in the course and scope of your employment, you are making a delivery remember, you are entitled to workers' compensation wage loss and medical benefits. But Second you can also sue the schmuck that hit you for negligence. And in negligence you can also collect for what is known as pain and suffering. And depending on the insurance coverage sometimes pain and suffering dollars can be substantial. [Caveat, under subrogation laws you may have to pay some of the money you get from the negligent driver's insurance company to the workmens compensation insurance company but that is a subject for another day.]
Now what about a scenerio between the two above, in other words what if you are injured at work due to the negligence of your employer or an employee of your employer? For example, your employer took the safety guard off the machine you are working on, or your coworker accidentally ran you over with the truck. Well, unfortunately in Pennsylvania when you suffer work related injuries due to the negligence of your employer or due to the negligence of a co-employee of your employer (an employee that works for your employer as opposed to a coworker employed by another company) you can only collect workmans compensation wage loss and medical benefits. Thus the answer: You cannot sue your employer for negligence and/or for pain and suffering in Pennsylvania workers' compensation is your sole remedy. If you have questions, call Dugan & Associates today at 888-99-DUGAN.