Does Accepting Workers' Comp Mean I Can't File a Lawsuit?


Work injuries are hard. They often require extensive medical care and recovery that prevent workers from earning the incomes they rely on. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to help injured workers receive money while they are unable to work. In Pennsylvania, all workers are covered by some form of workers’ compensation that will provide immediate assistance with lost wages and medical bills.

While filing a personal injury claim against an employer can provide increased compensation, it can also take an unknown amount of time. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is most useful for workers who are unable to wait for the completion of a lawsuit to receive compensation. However, once an employee accepts workers’ compensation claims, they will be unable to file a lawsuit against their employer.

Why Can’t You Sue an Employer After Accepting Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Injured employees are unable to sure their employer after collecting workers’ compensation because of a legal concept known as exclusive remedy. Exclusive remedy means that workers’ compensation benefits are the only thing a worker is entitled to after accepting them. Even if an employer’s negligence caused injuries, accepting workers’ compensation means an employee is waiving their ability to pursue their employer for punitive damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

Exceptions to Filing a Lawsuit Along with Accepting Workers’ Compensation

Two circumstances might allow an injured person receiving worker’s compensation to sue their employer for their injuries. First, a person can sue their employer for failing to have adequate workers’ compensation coverage. However, this situation does not happen in Pennsylvania as the state requires a minimum amount of insurance for all employers.

The only other time a person can collect benefits and sue their employer is if they can prove intentional harm. Doing this requires a person to prove that the employer was more than negligent and caused their injury on purpose. For example, physical violence between a business owner and an employee could create the possibility of filing a personal injury claim while accepting workers’ compensation.

Having Issues with a Workers’ Compensation Claim? Call Our Specialist Now at (888) 498-3023

At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC, we’re dedicated to helping workers obtain the compensation that they deserve after an accident. In fact, Attorney J. Jeffrey Watson is a certified specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Law Section as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This means that HHR has a team member who has dedicated a significant part of their legal work helping workers recover the funds they need.

Whether you are trying to decide if you should accept workers’ compensation or are having issues having a claim approved, HHR is ready to help. For nearly 100 years, our firm has been helping Pennsylvanians and clients across the nation recover after suffering from the negligence of another person. We know what’s at stake, and we’re ready to fight for the results you deserve.

Contact our workers’ compensation lawyers today at (888) 498-3023 to find out more about your options through a free consultation.

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