When it comes to workers’ compensation claims in Georgia, you can file one no matter who caused your injury. It is a no-fault system. Even if the injury was your own fault, you can still file for workers’ compensation benefits. The only exceptions to this rule include situations where you were drunk, on drugs, or behaving particularly recklessly.
This does not mean that if you forget your helmet, you can’t file a claim for a head injury. It does mean, however, that if you were engaged in playing some kind of prank on another worker or if you came to work drunk, and that resulted in an injury, you will not be able to file a claim. Workers’ compensation is for anyone working as they are supposed to be, where they are supposed to be, and not doing anything unreasonable to cause harm to themselves or others.
Speaking of those who show up to work drunk or try to play childish pranks on co-workers, if you’re wondering if you can sue someone for causing your work injury in Georgia, you’re not alone. Plenty of people have been injured through the negligence of others at their workplaces, and they often want answers about this very issue. However, Georgia is not a state that allows for workers to sue anyone for negligence associated with a work-related injury. Rather, you have to make do with a workers’ comp claim under the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine.
What Is The Exclusive Remedy Doctrine?
The Exclusive Remedy Doctrine means that you cannot sue your employer or their insurance policy for damages that are caused by negligence at work. In the same way that you can still file for workers’ compensation, even if your own negligence caused the injury (as long as it doesn’t meet the exclusions mentioned above), your employer and co-workers are also protected from accusations of negligence through workers’ compensation insurance and the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine. To make more sense of the reasoning behind this, the words ‘exclusive remedy’ specifically mean that there is only one remedy for your work related injuries, and that is workers’ compensation insurance coverage that is carried by your employer and covers you.
Does This Mean You Also Can’t Sue a Third Party?
Depending on your situation, you might have a valid claim against a third party who was involved in your work-place injury. This would be anyone who does not work for the same company you work for. One example would be a worker who delivers packages, and is injured on someone’s property, perhaps by tripping on an uneven sidewalk or being attacked by a dog. The property owner, in this case, would be a third party. You can sue that person in a third party claim, and you can also receive workers’ compensation benefits. Another common example of third party claims associated with workers’ comp claims would be an auto accident that occurs while you are engaged in travel related to your job.
What If You’re Dealing With a Dishonest Employer After a Work Related Injury?
It is important to be aware of your rights and responsibilities after a work related injury, especially if you are dealing with a dishonest employer. This is much more common than you might imagine, because there are financial consequences for reporting injuries that happen in the workplace. It can cause the employer to have a higher insurance premium, and this is enough to motivate many employers to hide the fact that an injury has occurred.
In many work environments, there are more hazards than anyone would be comfortable with. There might be people slipping and tripping on hazards all day, encountering dangerous temperatures and chemicals all day, using dangerous and poorly maintained machinery all day. There could be dozens of injuries happening that your employer would rather not report.
The employer might let you take a few days off to recover from an injury, but never report it to their workers’ compensation insurance. They might even tell you that your injury doesn’t qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. If you don’t know anything about your rights, then you might never pursue the matter any further. This could result in injuries that become worse with time, and you, left with no way to prove how they occurred. Even if you do pursue a claim, without your employer’s assistance, your employer could lie and say that your injury did not actually occur at work or that you were engaged in a personal errand at the time.
Then, there are the situations where employers actually threaten the injured worker with termination of employment or some other explicit or implied threat of retaliation. You need to know that this is completely illegal, even if they just imply that there will be retaliation. Or, if your employer does retaliate, openly or in a way that might be excused by other motivations, this is also illegal. The important thing to know, here, is that you can fight employer retaliation and seek the workers’ compensation that you are owed.
What Can You Do When An Employer Lies or Retaliates?
Never be bullied or intimidated by an employer who wants to convince you that you’d be better off not filing a workers’ compensation claim after a work related injury. You have a right to that compensation, and your employer has no right to retaliate. You may feel like you are up against a more powerful entity than yourself, a big company, lots of lawyers, entities that seem to hold your future and your wellbeing in the palms of their hands.
Yet, they are not as big and powerful as they seem, and you can become much more powerful with the representation of a skilled Georgia workers’ compensation attorney. We know all the tricks, and we aren’t intimidated one bit by underhanded employer tactics. Call the Bader Law Firm, LLC, and get a free consultation to learn more about your rights and protections under the law.