Employees injured on the job in Kentucky generally receive workers’ compensation payments for medical treatments and therapies required by the injury. Generally, accepting workers’ compensation means employees cannot sue the employers in court, regardless of who was responsible for the injuries. However, some exceptions exist.
Scenarios where injury lawsuits may be possible
Three typical scenarios may allow you to file an injury claim even when your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. These exceptions are:
- The employer commits an intentional tort
- A third party caused the injury
- Wrongful denial or termination of workers’ compensation benefits
An intentional tort occurs when you believe your employer intentionally caused a mishap and can involve battery, assault, defamation, etc. Lawsuits for workers’ compensation claims that have been denied are common after a plaintiff has exhausted the administrative appeals process.
If you were injured on the job and believe that someone other than you or your employer is responsible, you may be able to sue a third party. The process is similar to other injury claims where plaintiffs believe others have liability. For example, if you operate machinery on the job and the device injures you somehow, the equipment manufacturer could be responsible if the machine is defective.
Filing an additional claim can be tricky
The circumstances of your case will determine if you are eligible to file a claim for a third-party injury. If you receive a damage award from a third party, you may have to repay a portion of the workers’ compensation benefits awarded to your employer or insurance company. If you decide to file a third-party injury claim, your employer and insurer may also become parties to your lawsuit to recover the value of your workers’ compensation claim.
Note that workers’ compensation does not cover some typical circumstances allowed in a third-party lawsuit. Kentucky law does not provide for pain and suffering. Psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions arising from a work accident may also qualify for a third-party claim.