Connecticut Workplace Accident Attorneys
Ensuring You Receive Compensation After Being Injured at Work
Connecticut law provides for workers’ compensation benefits for most employees, but the benefits are limited, and may not adequately compensate an injured worker for pain, suffering, and disability resulting from a workplace injury.
At RisCassi & Davis, P.C., we often hear from employees who want to know whether they can seek to recover fair, just, and reasonable damages for their injuries through a lawsuit, rather than being limited to the modest scheduled benefits paid through workers’ compensation.
To speak to our workplace accident lawyers in Connecticut, contact our firm today.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim Alongside Workers’ Compensation
Under some circumstances, an injured worker has a right to bring a lawsuit for money damages, even if he or she is also receiving workers' compensation, despite legal restrictions on suing your employer in Connecticut.
We will outline below the two main aspects of that question:
- Whether you can sue a “third-party,” for example, a vendor, landowner, or contractor, who is not your employer?
- Whether you can sue your employer or a fellow employee
Suing a Wrongdoer Other than Your Employer or a Co-Worker for a Workplace Injury
If you are injured through the negligence of someone other than your employer, you can usually sue that “third-party” even though you are also receiving workers’ compensation benefits from your employer.
For instance, depending on the circumstances, an injured worker may be able to recover money damages from one of the following:
- A manufacturer or seller of defective and unreasonably dangerous machinery or products
- A contractor who created a hazardous condition on your employer’s premises
- A negligent general contractor, (subject to evolving limitations under Connecticut law)
- A customer who injures you at work
- An owner of the property, business, or parking lot where you were injured, if it is a separate legal entity than your employer
At RisCassi & Davis, P.C., we can review the facts of your particular workplace or job site accident to determine whether the facts suggest a third-party liability claim that we would be willing to pursue on your behalf.
**Please note that we generally do not accept claims only for workers’ compensation benefits, but if you have a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability claim, we may be able to assist with your workers’ compensation claim while pursuing your liability case.
Suing Your Employer or a Fellow Employee Under Connecticut Law
Connecticut law protects an employer from suit by its employee for injuries sustained on the job under many, but not all, circumstances.
Whether you can sue your employer for a particular work injury is a question too complicated to fully address here, but we will try to outline a few of the major considerations.
Section 31-284 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in its most relevant part, at the time of this writing, that an employer who provides workers’ compensation insurance generally “shall not be liable for any action for damages on account of personal injury sustained by an employee arising out of and in the course of his employment or on account of death resulting from personal injury so sustained, but an employer shall secure coverage for his employees as provided under this chapter…”
There are some exceptions:
- Courts have decided that Section 31-284 does not prevent you from recovering money damages if your employer intentionally injures you.
- The Connecticut Supreme Court has decided that Section 31-284 would not bar a wrongful death claim by the estate of a minor who was killed while illegally employed.
But the general Connecticut rule, applicable in most ordinary circumstances, has remained that the employer is immune from suit for personal injuries in the course of employment.
So, if you cannot sue your employer, can you sue the fellow employee who injured you?
Section 31-293a of the Connecticut General Statutes generally bars the employee from suing a fellow-employee or co-worker for personal injuries, too, but includes important exceptions.
At the time of this writing, Section 31-293a provides that “if an employee, or in case of his death, his dependent has a right to benefits or compensation under this chapter [i.e., workers’ compensation] on account of injury or death from injury caused by the negligence or wrong of a fellow employee, such right shall be the exclusive remedy of such injured employee or dependent and no action may be brought against such fellow employee unless such wrong was willful or malicious or the action is based upon the fellow employee’s negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle as defined in section 14-1.” The section goes on to designate certain construction and farm equipment that are not considered to be motor vehicles for this purpose.
Thus, there are significant hurdles to seeking damages in a civil action against employers or fellow-employees for work-related injuries under Connecticut law.
With that said, there are also some circumstances where suit may be brought:
- Under Connecticut law, you can sue a co-worker for an automobile or truck accident, even if it happens in the course of employment
- You can also sue an employer or fellow-employee who intentionally, willfully, or maliciously injures you
- You may also be able to sue an employer that failed to maintain required workers’ compensation insurance
RisCassi & Davis, P.C. Is Here to Help
Whether and under what circumstances you can sue your company doctor for medical malpractice may be a tricky question that might depend upon the particular facts regarding the treatment and the doctor-patient relationship.
There may also be other exceptions to the general Connecticut rule against suits against employers and/or fellow employees, not detailed here. An attorney can advise you more completely about your particular circumstance.
You should speak with an attorney rather than relying on anything you may have heard, or may read online, (even here) because there have been changes in the law regarding liability for workplace injuries.
RisCassi & Davis, P.C. has handled claims under most or all of these exceptions to the “rule” of immunity for employers and fellow-employees.
Contact our Connecticut workplace injury attorneys today at (860) 245-2412 to schedule a free initial consultation with our firm.
$12.6 Million Wrongful Death
Injury and death damages as a result of an explosion at the Kleen Energy plant.
$11 Million Truck Accident
Collision with commercial delivery truck results in brain injury.
$9 Million Paralyzed Worker
$9,000,000 settlement for a paralyzed construction worker.
$8.1 Million Medical Malpractice
Improperly performed biopsy lead to wrongful death.
$7.5 Million Automobile Accident
Nursing student who was rendered a paraplegic as the result of a motor vehicle accident.