When Can I Sue My Employer for a Work Injury in Virginia?

When Can I Sue My Employer for a Work Injury in Virginia?

About Virginia Workers' Compensation System

In Virginia, the primary avenue for obtaining benefits after a work injury is through the workers' compensation system. Employers in Virginia are required to carry workers' compensation insurance, which provides medical benefits, wage replacement, and disability benefits to employees injured on the job. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system, meaning it generally covers employees regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Waiving Your Right to Sue

Under the workers' compensation system, employees typically waive their right to sue their employer for work-related injuries in exchange for the benefits provided by workers' compensation. In other words, if you are covered by workers' compensation, you cannot sue your employer in most cases, even if their negligence caused your injury. This "exclusive remedy" provision is a critical aspect of Virginia's workers' compensation laws.

When You Might Have a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

While workers' compensation is the primary method of obtaining benefits, there are some limited circumstances where you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. Here are a few scenarios in which you might have grounds for a lawsuit:

  • Employer's Intentional Harm: If your employer intentionally caused your injury or demonstrated a willful disregard for your safety, you might be able to sue them. Proving intentional harm can be challenging, so consulting an experienced attorney is crucial in such cases.
  • Employer Doesn't Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance: In Virginia, not all employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance. If your employer is exempt and does not carry insurance, you might have the option to file a lawsuit for your injuries.
  • Third-Party Liability: If a third party (someone other than your employer or a coworker) caused your work-related injury, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against that party while still receiving workers' compensation benefits from your employer.
  • Defective Products or Equipment: If your injury resulted from a defective product or equipment, you may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor.
  • Retaliation for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim: If your employer retaliates against you for filing a workers' compensation claim, such as termination or demotion, you might be able to take legal action.

Seek Legal Advice

Workplace injury cases can be complex, and the laws governing employer liability can be nuanced. If you believe you have a case against your employer, it's essential to consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney at The Barrera Law Firm, PLLC. Our team can evaluate the circumstances of your injury, advise you on the best course of action, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

If you've suffered a work injury in Virginia, contact us today at (571) 290-2390 to schedule a free consultation.