Individuals who are hurt at their workplace in Arkansas are typically permitted to collect monetary benefits under Arkansas’ workers’ compensation law to cover their medical expenses and their lost wages. However, there are situations when a worker is entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against another individual or employee. Below, Ken Kieklak, an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney, discusses the factors that come into play when deciding to sue an individual for a workplace injury.
Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Benefits vs. a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Many workers in Arkansas suffer severe and debilitating injuries while on the job. Most people might only think about injuries occurring at construction sites or involving employees engaged in high-risk jobs. However, injuries happen in every line of employment. An officer worker could suffer carpal tunnel syndrome from hours of computer work or a store clerk could be injured while stocking shelves. No matter the type of injury, nearly every employee in Arkansas has the ability to seek compensation through a workers’ compensation claim if their injury occurred while on the job. Workers’ compensation claims can still be challenging, so it is crucial to have the representation of an experienced Arkansas Tyson Foods workers’ compensation lawyer to avoid possible problems.
Workers’ compensation was designed to be a streamlined process allowing injured workers to obtain monetary benefits without proving fault in a court of law. Despite the advantages, workers’ compensation has its drawbacks. An approved doctor must provide medical treatment, the amount of lost wages an injured employee could receive is capped, and a hurt worker is not entitled to recover for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages.
In a personal injury lawsuit, an injured employee must establish that another party was negligent. If successful, the hurt worker could recover their full lost income and their non-economic damages. However, under Arkansas law, an employee is ordinarily prohibited from suing their employer. Fortunately, this prohibition does not extend to third-parties or individuals. If you are injured at work, you should contact our Arkansas personal injury attorney to determine if another party could be held responsible for your damages.
Suing a Co-Worker for a Workplace Injury in Arkansas
The idea behind workers’ compensation law is to provide injured workers a faster and more efficient way to receive financial support if they are hurt on the job. As stated above, this benefit comes with some limitations. In most cases, an employer is immune from being sued for a workplace injury. Most states in the county afford a similar immunity to co-workers. However, Arkansas is one of four states that allow workers to file a personal injury lawsuit against a co-worker.
Suffering an injury at your workplace does not mean you automatically have a right to sue a fellow employee. Their negligent conduct must have contributed to or caused your injury. In some cases, another worker could be held accountable if their actions were deliberate. For example, if a fellow employee intentionally pushed you down a flight of stairs, they could be held liable for any injures you suffered.
Another employee does not have to intend harm to be held accountable for an injury. For instance, if a fellow worker was driving you to an off-site location under the scope of their employment and was involved in a car accident because they were speeding or otherwise driving recklessly, you could have a viable claim against them. When an injury is caused by an employee doing something outside the scope of their employment, they could be held personally responsible. The circumstances surrounding what occurred will determine whether you could sue a fellow employee. Our Fayetteville, AR workplace injury attorney will investigate the facts surrounding your injury to determine if a fellow employee could be to blame.
Third-Party Lawsuits for Work-Related Injuries in Arkansas
Some injuries in Arkansas workplaces are caused by the careless or negligent conduct of third-parties unrelated to your work. Our attorneys and staff will thoroughly review the facts and evidence regarding your injury to determine if a third-party contributed to and could be held responsible for the harm you suffered.
Driving to an off-site job location could result in a claim against another individual. An accident could be caused by another motorist driving negligently, either texting, drinking, or otherwise acting in a manner that endangered others. Even though you were driving for work and it was a work-related injury, you are permitted bring a claim against the negligent driver.
Some other examples of third-parties that could be sued because of their negligent conduct include a delivery person who carelessly stacks boxes of paper or other materials, an electrician who leaves live wires exposed in an office, and a building manager who fails to address poor lighting in a stairwell.
Third-party claims do not prohibit you from also pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. It is essential that you speak with our Fayetteville, AR workers’ compensation attorney so you understand your legal rights and options.
Call an Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Who Will Fight for Your Rights
Workplace injuries could be devastating, leaving individuals in pain and their families in a difficult financial position. While workers’ compensation benefits are available, they are not always sufficient to cover the full extent of harm done. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, not only helps injured employees navigate the complexities of Arkansas’ workers’ compensation laws, he is also determined to hold anyone responsible accountable. By pursuing a civil claim, many injured workers could receive the additional compensation they and their families need. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free appointment.