When can I sue for compensation after a workplace injury?

Worker’s compensation laws protect you as an employee by making health care and financial compensation possible after workplace injuries. But these same laws protect most employers from liability. New Jersey law, like the law in many other states, restricts you from suing your employer for his or her negligence in most cases.

You may still sue your employer in certain situations, however, and you may still be able to seek compensation from other contributing parties.

Suing your employer

New Jersey law bars workers from suing their employers except in the case of intentional acts of misconduct. This means that your employer would have to commit a gross breach of his duty to you and that his conduct would have to cause you serious injury.

For example, if your employer was aware of a dangerous situation at work and intentionally chose to keep it quiet, or he intentionally created a hazardous condition, you may be able to seek civil damages.

Proving intention can be tricky, so it is essential to have a strong case before taking action. Collect any and all evidence you can, and determine who else was aware of the incident and can corroborate your story.

New Jersey is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that you may be eligible for damages even if you were partially at fault, as long as you were less than 50% at fault. The amount of damages will reduce by the degree you were responsible.

Suing other parties

Oftentimes, the injury was due to the negligence of a third party, such as a contractor or client. For example, a building owner who has hired your work fails to properly fireproof the building, resulting in a fire and serious injury to you and other workers. You may be able to sue for damages from the property owner.

In New Jersey, you may not only receive damages for your medical bills and missed paychecks, but you may also be able to get compensation for your pain and suffering and loss of future earning potential. The amount of damages you can receive will depend on the strength of your case, the degree of the property owner’s negligence, the duty of care he owed to you and the severity of your injuries.

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