Suing Your Employer in PA
General Rule In Pennsylvania
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, you cannot sue your employer or co-workers for negligence in causing your injury. There are exceptions to the rule however, and you need to consult with experienced Workers’ Compensation counsel to determine whether an exception applies in your case.
Exceptions to the General Rule
The most notable exception is where your employer has failed to maintain the mandatory Workers’ Compensation insurance. By failing to comply with the requirements of the Workers’ Compensation Act in providing insurance, the employer loses the immunity which the Workers’ Compensation Act grants.
Intentional acts, which are not related to work, are not covered by Workers’ Compensation and therefore the immunity that normally comes with Workers’ Compensation coverage does not apply.
An exception to immunity is provided for Sexual Harassment cases and Defamation cases.
Sometimes the employer will argue that an accident happened when the employee was not in the course and scope of employment, for example at a company sponsored social event. Such an effort by the employer to avoid Workers’ Compensation liability may however expose it to third party liability for negligence. It is important that you speak with experienced Workers’ Compensation counsel to determine whether the facts of your case would enable you to pursue a third party claim.
Other Things to Consider
Despite the immunity in work injuries, other Civil Actions against the employer are not barred such as actions for discrimination based on sex, age or race. Actions brought against the employer for Wrongful Discharge are also not barred.
If an employer fires an injured worker because they have pursued a Workers’ Compensation Claim the employer is civilly liable, as such action is against public policy.
The attorneys at Martin Law would be happy to provide a free consultation to determine whether or not you have a potential third party claim in addition to your Workers’ Compensation Claim.