Workers, especially construction workers, are often misinformed about their legal rights to obtain financial recovery after a work accident occurs. The vast majority of workers believe that if they are injured on the job, their claims are limited to workers’ compensation claims. This is 100% false. Pennsylvania law recognizes workers’ rights to make claims against non-employers and in some cases, against employers.
Workers’ Rights to Sue an Employer in PA
In general, employees are barred from bringing lawsuits against employers in work accident cases. That’s why workers’ compensation laws exist, to provide injured workers with medical and disability (wage loss) benefits in the event of a work related accident. In return for this protection, employers are generally immune from liability; this is known as workers’ compensation exclusivity. There are of course, several well established exceptions to this rule, and Pennsylvania recognizes many of them.
In Pennsylvania, three of the most commonly applied exceptions to the exclusivity rule are:
1. Employer engages in willful, intentional conduct. In some cases, an employer may be liable for engaging in extreme conduct. For example, the act of falsifying records which leads to an injury may qualify as willful, intentional conduct.
2. The accident or injury was of a personal nature. This argument is usually made in situations when one worker assaults another. The employer may be held liable when the act is of a nature personal to the injured worker. For example, if one worker assaults another and the assault is reasonably foreseeable by the employer, the employer may be liable.
3. Employer’s failure to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. If the employer fails to obtain workers’ compensation insurance, the worker may be able to bring a tort claim against the employer directly. In other words, there would be no workers’ compensation claim because the employer failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Therefore, the employee retains the right to go after the employer to obtain financial recovery for the injuries sustained in the accident.
In addition, Pennsylvania work accident law recognizes other exceptions, such as the dual capacity or dual persona exception. It is crucial to have a serious work accident case reviewed by a lawyer who has knowledge and experience with the application of the workers’ compensation exceptions.
- A Look at Two Construction Equipment Accidents
- Construction Site Owner Liability for a Work Related Accident in Pennsylvania
- Construction Site Accidents Involving Heavy Equipment
Pennsylvania and New Jersey Construction Site Accident Lawyers
Paul Bucci and the work accident lawyers at Laffey, Bucci and Kent are passionate about workers’ rights and accident safety.
Paul’s law firm proudly represents workers, such as:
- steel workers,
- iron workers, and
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt or killed in a work accident, contact our Pennsylvania and New Jersey construction accident lawyers for a free, confidential consultation. Our lawyers accept cases in other states such as New York or Delaware on a case by case basis and welcome calls from local counsel. (866) 641-0806/Click To Call
Disclaimer: The lawyers at Laffey, Bucci & Kent provide quality legal advice to individuals after accepting their case. No attorney-client relationship is created by this website. Nothing on this site is intended to provide legal advice. Because every case is unique, discussion of prior outcomes and settlements in past cases is no guarantee of a similar outcome in current or future cases.