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Thread: Can you sue employer seperate from comp?

  1. #1
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    Default Can you sue employer seperate from comp?

    In IL I have read some things that say under some situations it is possible to file a seperate lawsuit directly against the employer in civil court and it be seperate from work comp. I have not been able to find any examples of how and when a person can do this. Do any of you know under what circumstances if any a person is allowed to pursue a on the job injury in civel court? I've seen this question asked on a lot of boards but no one ever seems to have a definite answer for what's involved, I'm curious of what it takes to be able to do this. Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Do any of you know under what circumstances if any a person is allowed to pursue a on the job injury in civel court? Only when there is third-party liability. You cannot sue your employer over a worker's compensation issue but you can sue an outside party if they played a contributing role in your injury.

    For example, you were injured while operating a piece of equipment and the injury was due to the negligence of an outside maintenance company who had serviced the machinery. You can sue the vendor but you cannot sue your employer.

  3. #3
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    Default It All Depends

    Just as Beth stated, if it is a workers' compensation issue, then you cannot pursue any further action other than through workers' compensation. The workers' compensation system was intended to be a "no-fault" style insurance. Prior to this system, the injured worker had to sue and prove that there was negligence on the part of the employer. In virtually every case at that time, the employer always won.

    Now the system is different. If there is negligence on the part of the employer, then you potentially have a case. But remember, they will be fighting it tooth and nail the entire way.

    I am not sure about IL, but in OH there is a supplemental award called a VSSR in which you can be awarded an additional settlement due to safety violations on the part of the employer. This part is easier to pursue as part of the workers' compensation case.

    You may want to ask your attorney regarding any safety violation settlements that may be available to you through your workers' compensation case.

    Otherwise, pursuing a civil action outside the workers' compensation arena will be long, will be costly and will probably not get you want you need in the long run. If your employer is truly violating OSHA or other safety requirements and they have been told and not corrected the issue, you might want to pursue something through OSHA (www.osha.gov). Searching the website may be fruitful.

    You can also find information on the IL commission at www.iwcc.il.gov.

    Have you filed a claim yet or in the midst of one and are getting denied?

  4. #4
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    Generally speaking, for the injury itself, no, you cannot enter a separate suit.

    What you may be thinking of is when an employee is injured there are often times a safety violation. Some employees report this to OSHA, which launches a targeted investigation. This targeted investigation will sometimes lead employers terminated the complaintant. THIS IS ILLEGAL. The employee can then file a retaliation suit.

  5. #5
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    My comp claim is as of now closed and settled. This is bad to say but the motive here is pure revenge against an *** of a boss that you wouldn't believe. I got hurt because of him simply because he refused to allow us to leave a few lights on over the weekend when we shut down, it cost a lot of money to burn a couple light bulbs when you don't have too. Come in on midnights that Sunday night to start the mill and tripped in the dark over a hose that someone left draped accross the walkway. Me and the 3rd shift foreman told him many times to start leaving just a couple lights on over the weekend so we could see good enough to at least get things started up. I was off for a while, then released with restrictions. He never followed the restrictions because he has it in for anyone who files a comp claim, he takes it personal against him. Lasted a while back at work and the job messed my back up worse and I had to have surgery this time. He's fought my comp claim the whole way trying to get it denied, trying to get me kicked off comp and finaly this time when I was released by telling the main office I'm lazy and talked them into not allowing me back. I didn't have a negative mark in my work history for 12 years employment.

    He even went as far as sneaking around while I was off on comp video taping me himself. This backfired on him because I was doing stuff my Dr. had told me to be doing to get excercise. But this tells you what a jerk he is. I'm already going to pursue the claim about him telling everyone I'm lazy and other worse things, I have witness' prepared to back me up that he has told this to and in a small town rumors travel fast and now there is no way I can get another job localy. He is also giving me horrible job references which I'm fixing to hire a PI to do a phoney call to him and document it.

    My entire injury was because of his negligence, was hurt worse because of him then had to have surgery, went back for a short time after surgery in which he pulled the same crap making me worse after having the surgery and now finaly got his way and I'm out of a job. I just want to make sure I nail this jerk for everything possible. I don't want to miss anything. Taping a phoney job reference call may not be admissable in court, I don't know the legals on that but there are agencies that specialize in doing them, but it will have leverage in getting his *** fired when corporate see's whats going on. If I can just get rid of him I've at least done all my friends at work a favor. Everyone there hates this guy with a passion and its time he gets whats coming to him.

  6. #6
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    Default Retaliation

    It does sound like you might have an issue associated with retaliation, which is illegal in many states. You would have ask your attorney regarding it.

    In regards civil suit on your employer, since this was identified as a work comp case and was settled as such, I don't think you have much to stand on. You might be able to others there involved to go to OSHA regarding the continued safety violations. However, not sure if that is going to help you.

    Certainly, the defamation of character is a real issue. In regards to the phone call, I would also make sure your attorney understands issues associated with taped conversations and entrapment. I am sure he does, but the last thing you want to do is get caught up in that quagmire.

    I know what a jerk this person can be for it. He should get off his high horse and realize that he is going to get his butt in a sling as some point himself.

  7. #7
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    My main concern is I'm going to get this guy fired. He screwed with me and my life and now its my turn. As far as the taping goes, regardless if its relevant in court or not or usable, I don't care. It is mainly for the corporate office to hear to verify what crap he's pulling and what he's got them into. My only chance of finding a job right now is if they don't call my former employer and around here places check you out before hiring you. Once they talk to him I don't stand a chance getting another job. I've got enough witness' to what all he's said that I won't need the tape if its not legally admissable in court. It will be enough to have him fired though. And what will be funny is he used a hidden audio to have 2 secretaries fired. He went into their offices cussed them out and went back to his office and dialed the HR office at corporate. They came to his office and started fireing back at him like he just done them and then fired them. The HR dept was listening on speaker phone and got to hear 1/2 of what had went on. He failed to mention and denied the part about cussing them out and throwing one of their vases full of flowers up against the wall and busting it 2 minutes before dialing the phone. He told them that was what he had to put up with from them all the time and they were just saying that stuff about him and ganging up on him. Well this time I'll have the proof in hand to what kind of crap he's been pulling for years that they just can't believe he'd pull.

    For the record, I'm not normally like this. I'm one of the nicest easiest going guys you will ever meet. This is not in my character. I just can't stress enough what kind of an *** this guy is. He's the most petty vindictive person I've ever seen. Another character example about him, he likes to deer hunt along with a lot of other guys there at work. I once heard him say that the whole time he's in his stand hunting all he can think about is he hopes someone at work doesn't kill a bigger deer than him. What kind of a piece of crap would think like that. Just want everyone to realize why I'm this way with him, this will be justice for numerous people.

    I was pretty sure I couldn't go after him on the injury outside comp but I wanted to make sure. I'm picking a different lawyer for this next part and I want to have one that specializes in what I have the most grounds for a case. As it sounds the best grounds are defamation and possible retalitory discharge. Thanks for all your help, I appreciate it a lot.

  8. #8

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    What about if an employer attacks an employee with a pipe he specifically put together for that purpose? I had my face smashed by my former employer with a pipe after he refused to pay me my wages. He didnt carry workmans comp insurance but my lawyer went through the workmans comp fund and it is to be settled next week. Did he compromise my saftey when he assembled the pipe to hit me with?

  9. #9
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    Default New York Answer

    There are many options open to you, but remember many agencies will try to protect the state and the insurance carrier before you, so your burden of proof will be heavy. You can sue in NYS in civil court if there is a third party involved, for negligence. However, if you sue make sure that you do not have to pay back everything you received from your employer with the settlement. You can complain to OSHA for safety violations, the DA for criminal conduct, EEOC for employment issues (however in NY they only pursue a case if the infraction involves a class of people), and you must be employable. You can complain to the ADA, but you must be a member of a protected class and be employable. You can complain to the State Attorney General. The Department of Labor will listen to you, and have jurisdiction over WCB which is under the Department of Labor. If you get nowhere with your state Labor Department, go to the Federal Labor Department. They really will contact the State and WCB in your name. You can go to your state or local senator, congressman, councilperson. They will be respectful and often get great results. You can change the law, as I have. This is a lot of work but worth it. You can go to the media. You can sue in various courts, for things like retaliation, harassment, seclusion, discrimination, slander. Make sure that you have substantial documentation, because the burden of proof is on you and the carrier, corporation and/or company has a lot more money than you do to fight. Also, these issues must not be unfair harassment/discrimination for instance, but illegal. Therefore, retaliation would be linked to a discrimination complaint. Illegal retaliation is based on either a legally protected characteristic (i.e. disability) or because you reported an illegal activity. It must violate a law. In discrimination, you need proof it happened because of a protected characteristic. If you sue in court for an issue that is not covered with a remedy under your state workers compensation and you win money, you do not have to pay back the monies you already received from the carrier. Just remember, what the employee is doing to you is most likely company policy endorsed by the employer and carrier, and they will cover for him. Good luck.
    Last edited by sci; 06-03-2006 at 05:55 PM.

  10. #10
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    Um, did you happen to notice this post is 6 months old? The poster is unlikely to be coming back for advice this much later.

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