As you may know, employees usually have no right to sue their employers for injury outside of workers compensation. Workers Compensation was formed years ago to provide workers some remedy where they had traditionally had none at all. The bargain was that employers would give up their virtual immunity from suit by their employees in exchange for a limited, statutory system of compensation for the employees. That statutory system applies to most situations, but not all. The statutory system is intended to apply to the most obvious accidents that occur on the job, when an employee is on the job, acting within the scope of employment, and the only relationship between the employer and the employee at the time of the accident is an employer-employee relationship.
The most common situations where the statutory system does not apply, i.e. when the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine does not apply and the employee will be able to recover outside of the workers compensation system, are:
- Dual Capacity
- Intentional Torts
- Liability for Third-parties
When an employee is injured by the employer, when the employer is not solely in an employer-employee relationship with the employee, the employee will be able to recover to the extent of the injuries incurred by the employee outside of the employer-employee relationship. For example, an employee will be able to recover from his or her employer when they are off-duty patronizing their employer’s business. For a more complicated example, if an employee is at work, using a forklift, and the employer, in addition to being the employee’s employer, was the manufacturer of the forklift, the employee could recover for injuries attributable to design defect in the forklift.
If an employer intentionally injures an employee, the employee is entitled to recover under common law causes of action, rather than be constrained to workers comp recoveries.
Liability for Third-Parties
Sometimes employers will contract to hold third parties harmless from claims that arise while those third parties are contracted by the employer. For Example, a contractor might hold a subcontractor harmless from claims by the contractor’s own employees. In these cases, the employee will be able to sue the employer under the theory that the employer is indemnifying the third party.
Workers Comp Attorneys of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower
The SC workers compensation lawyers at Reeves, Aiken, & Hightower know the South Carolina worker’s compensation system and are ready to get you the recovery you deserve. Browse our website, examine our credentials, and compare us to anyone else. Then call us at 877-374-5999 or contact us at this link for a private consultation.