Can I Sue My Employer Instead of Filing a Workers Compensation Claim?

When we first meet with a new client, we like to sit down and hear their story. Before they can give any legal advice, our workers compensation attorneys in Atlanta need to determine what issues you’re dealing with. You can ask them any questions you have. They will also have a few questions of their own. If your workers compensation claim has already been denied when you come into the office, it will change things quite a bit. You may be in the position where your only option is to sue your employer. The questions is whether you can sue them under personal injury or if you’re relegated to suing under workers compensation.

Here, we will discuss the limitations of workers compensation in Georgia. We will also describe situations in which you may have no choice but to sue your employer directly. In addition, we will highlight those categories of employees who are not eligible for workers’ compensation.

If you have any questions about your own workers compensation case, give us a call. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. All you have to do is let us know a date and time that works for you. You should also try to forward us any information and correspondence you have regarding your claim. This way, we have a chance to review it before we meet.

All Employees are Limited to Recourse Under Workers Compensation

Under Georgia law, any employee who gets hurt on the job must seek recourse through workers compensation. You aren’t allowed to sue your employer every time you get hurt at work. The workers compensation system was put into place to protect both workers and the companies they work for.

Workers’ compensation offers employees benefits if they get hurt at work. When an employee’s workers comp claim is approved, they are entitled to both medical care and weekly benefits. These things are paid out by their employer’s insurance carrier.

The system also protects employers. If companies were forced to pay to defend a personal injury lawsuit every time an employee got hurt on the job, they’d go bankrupt in no time. Workers’ compensation insulates them from having to pay millions of dollars every year in legal fees and judgments.

Your Atlanta Workers Comp Lawyer May Be Able to Get Your Claim Approved

If you’re eligible for workers compensation, your Atlanta workers comp lawyer will help you file your claim. They’ll do whatever they can to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. However, there are times when an employer chooses to deny an employee’s claim. They could do so for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • They don’t think you got hurt on the job
  • You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace accident
  • You didn’t report the accident in a timely fashion
  • You refuse to be treated by a state-approved workers comp doctor
  • You are caught working at another job while collecting benefits
  • You must participate in your medical treatment

As long as you meet these requirements, your claim should be approved.

Certain Categories of Workers Are Not Entitled to Workers Compensation Benefits

If you’ve already applied for workers comp and your claim was denied, it may be because you aren’t technically eligible for benefits. There are certain categories of workers that are not allowed to apply for workers comp benefits. These include:

  • Domestic servants
  • railroad workers
  • federal employees
  • seasonal workers
  • casual employees
  • temporary workers
  • independent contractors

If you fall into one of these categories, your only option may be to sue your employer under personal injury.

Your Workers Compensation Attorney in Atlanta May Be Able to Sue Your Employer Directly

As stated above, if you aren’t eligible for workers compensation, you may have standing to sue your employer. There are also a few other situations in which you can sue your employer directly for damages. These cases are few and far between. In fact, over the years, our Atlanta workers comp lawyers have only seen a handful of these accounts.

In order to sue your employer under personal injury, you must be able to show that they were reckless or grossly negligent. This goes beyond ordinary negligence. When you sue someone for negligence, all you have to prove is that they didn’t behave the way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances. When it comes to gross negligence or recklessness, you have to show that the other party acted without any care for the safety of others. It comes pretty close to showing intent. When you first meet with your workers compensation attorney in Atlanta, they will let you know if you have the right to sue your employer for damages. In the case that you can sue, your Atlanta workers comp lawyer will demand the following:

  • medical bills and future medical bills
  • property damage
  • lost wages
  • lost future income
  • pain and suffering
  • punitive damages

Your Workers Compensation Attorney in Atlanta Will Do Their Best to Get You the Compensation You Deserve

Whether you’re appealing your workers compensation claim or suing your employer directly, you need help. This is not the kind of thing you should be handling on your own. If you don’t have an Atlanta workers comp lawyer, your employer and their insurance company will try to take advantage of you. They figure that once you realize your claim has been denied, you’ll accept the denial as a final decision and walk away. However, once they find out there is an attorney involved, they may change their tune.

Since we offer all new clients a free consultation, it’s in your best interest to contact our office today. You don’t want to wait too long to meet with an attorney. The more time that goes by, the harder it will be to successfully appeal your claim. And, if you do need to sue your employer directly, you don’t want to run up against the statute of limitations deadline.

Since the consultation is free, and since we charge no money upfront, you have no reason to at least meet with a skilled workers compensation attorney in Atlanta.