I was injured at work. Can I sue my employer?

I was injured at work.  Can I sue my employer?

The short answer is no.  You cannot.  Instead, when you are injured at work, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim and seek workers’ compensation benefits.

When you “sue” someone for an injury, it is typically based on negligence.  If you are hurt at work and you want to sue your employer, you probably think that your employer, or a co-worker, was negligent, careless or unreasonable in some manner, leading to your injury.  And as a result, you would like some fair amount of money damages to make things right.

But under the law, you are not allowed to do this.  That is because the Workers’ Compensation Act in Connecticut provides that it is an “exclusive remedy” meaning that when you are injured on the job, within the scope of your employment, your only legal remedy against your employer is to pursue workers’ compensation benefits.

There are some exceptions, however, in which you may sue your employer.  For example:  1) if the injury is the result of a co-worker’s negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle; or 2) if your injury is because your employer actually intended for you to be injured.

Also, if the injury is the result of the negligence of some third party, someone other than your employer or co-worker, then you can sue, but it would not be against your employer, it would be against the third party.  For example, it could be some other company responsible for maintaining the building or the grounds where you work.

With all of that said, the real lesson is that when injured on the job, you have a workers’ compensation claim, not a lawsuit against your employer.  You should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can file your workers’ compensation claim, ensure you are receiving your workers’ compensation benefits and investigate/explore whether there are any other parties that may be legally responsible.