If you have been injured on the job, you may have been told by your employer, or by someone else, that your only recourse for your losses is to file a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation laws are often the “exclusive” remedy for a work-related injury, but there are exceptions. Here’s how it works.
Under the workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey, a workers’ compensation claim is intended to operate as your sole means of redress for the negligence of your employer or a co-employee. Accordingly, if you were injured because your employer failed to provide adequate safety measures, or because a co-worker was careless in his or her duty, you must apply for workers’ compensation benefits to cover any losses.
However, if your injury was caused, in part or in whole, by the wrongful acts of someone other than your employer or a co-employer, you may be able to bring a civil suit (a personal injury lawsuit in court) against that person. Examples of situations where this option may be available include:
- When you are injured because of exposure to or the breakdown of a dangerous or defective product
- When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident where the at-fault driver was neither your employer, nor a co-employee
- When you are injured by the carelessness or negligence of an adjoining property owner, a customer, vendor or other person not a co-worker
There is nothing to prohibit you from filing a workers’ compensation claim for the wrongful activities of your employer or a co-employee, and simultaneously filing a lawsuit for injuries caused by an unrelated third party. You cannot, however, recover twice for the same loss. If you have medical expenses paid by a workers’ compensation claim, you can’t seek to recover the same losses in a personal injury lawsuit in court.
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We handle all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.