The Exclusive Remedy Doctrine in Workers’ Comp Cases
If you were injured on the job due to your employer or a co-worker's
negligence, you may be wondering if you can sue either party. Unfortunately,
in Georgia, the answer is no. Instead, you get a
workers' compensation claim under the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine.
The good news is that if you are injured on the job, doing something you
were supposed to be doing, and in a place where you were supposed to be
doing it, then you have a valid workers' compensation claim, no matter
who was at fault. In cases where no party was at fault or you were to blame,
you still have a claim so long as you were not intoxicated, under the
influence of drugs, or engaging in horseplay or reckless actions.
The bad news that goes along with this is that because the employer and
their insurance company must pay a workers' compensation claim for
any job-related injury, you are not able to bring a negligence claim or
sue your employer or co-worker. While this won’t always be an issue,
in cases where they were negligent or blatantly at fault, it can be frustrating.
Bringing Claims Against Third Parties
Though you are barred from bringing a negligence claim against your employer/co-worker,
you can bring a negligence claim
in addition to your workers’ comp claim against a third party. What does this mean?
If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a third party, such
as a person or company outside of your present employer, you may be able
to pursue compensation from them as well. This is called a third party claim.
The most common third party claim occur when workers are driving on the
job and get into a car wreck caused by another person. If you suffer injuries,
you have a workers' compensation claim against your employer and their
insurer, as well as the negligent driver that was responsible and at fault
for the serious car accident.
Workers’ Comp Claim vs. Negligence Claim
A workers' compensation claim and a
negligence claim are two different things. The moment you are injured on the job, you have
a workers' compensation claim against your employer. You may also
have a negligence claim if someone else caused your injuries, which often
leads to a greater financial recovery than you can get in the workers'
compensation claim, as there are more damages recoverable in a personal
injury negligence claim. If you have both claims, an attorney can help
you successfully pursue both claims.
Wondering if you have a third party negligence claim in addition to your
workers' compensation claim?
Contact Douglas F. Kaleita, P.C. to discuss your case with our Atlanta workers' comp lawyer.