If my injury is my employer’s fault, can I sue my employer?

by Kara Dolan-West | Feb 08, 2014 | Workplace Accidents and Injuries

It is very typical after an injury takes place to try to figure out who caused the injury. It may be a co-worker’s fault that you got injured or you may think that your employer could have taken steps to prevent your injury. When trying to determine who the culprit is, you may want to know who you can sue to protect your rights. Ohio is considered a “no-fault” workers’ compensation system. This simply means that even if an injured worker is at fault for their injury, they still are permitted to file a workers’ compensation claim. Likewise, if an employer did not take steps to prevent an injury from taking place, an injured worker is limited to benefits as provided through the workers’ compensation system. 

While it may be disappointing to find out that you are not permitted to sue your employer for your injuries, there are other types of benefits that you are entitled to if your employer has not followed safety regulations. If you do believe that your employer failed to take steps to prevent your injury you may be entitled to a Violation of Specific Safety Regulation award. This is an award that is designed to compensate injured workers for injuries that occurred as a result of an employer’s failure to follow certain rules enunciated by the legislature. These rules are very specific and require injured workers to allege that a specific rule was violated. It is the only area in Ohio workers’ compensation that an employer does have the benefit of the doubt. Thus, if there is any question whether there is a violation, the employer will not be held accountable. 

Recently, the legislature has changed the law to require that a Violation of a Specific Safety Regulation be filed within one year of the date of the injury. This is crucial because you must file a specific form with the information related to the injury, including not only witnesses but also what specific rules you are alleging were violated. In any injury where they are an OSHA investigation performed, a Violation of Specific Safety Regulation should be considered. While the rules are not the same, there is typically something that can be investigated by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to determine whether a violation has in fact taken place.  

Even though Ohio’s laws do not typically permit a lawsuit against your employer for causing an injury there are still benefits that should be explored in the context of your workers’ compensation claim. If an injured worker has any questions or concerns with what caused their injury it would always be recommended to consult with an attorney regarding your potential rights for recovery. 

Please contact our attorneys and schedule a free consultation if you have been injured on the job.

Tags: employer's fault fault immunity no liability for employer