Workers comp claims can take an unexpected turn.

If you’ve been injured on the job, is it possible to sue the employer instead of filing a workers compensation claim?

Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, any employer that employs one or more persons must carry Workers Compensation insurance. For an employee who has been injured on the job this means that you generally forfeit your right to sue your employer or co-workers for negligence in causing your injury.

Workers Compensation is intended to provide medical care and wage loss benefits in exchange for your right to sue the employer in cases of workplace injury. Essentially stating your employer and/or co-workers assume no responsibility for your on the job injury.

Sue the Employer: Is there an exception to the rule?


With workers compensation claims, there are a some exceptions to the rule, but  often this is where the claim may shift from workers compensation to employment discrimination or a civil action lawsuit.

sue the employerException #1 – Failing to maintain Workers Compensation insurance.

Failure to maintain workers compensation insurance leaves the employer or co-workers open to civil or criminal lawsuits from the employee. Without workers compensation insurance, this now makes the employer liable for injuries or diseases sustained while on the job.

Exception #2Wrongful termination of an employee after filing a workman comp claim.

It is illegal for any employer to terminate the position of an employee after they’ve filed a workers compensation claim.

If you’re wondering how to sue employer for wrongful termination due to a workers compensation claim, then you must retain an experienced attorney who has expertise in both workers comp claims and employment discrimination cases.

Exception #3 – Employer intentionally caused your workplace injury.

If you believe your employer intentionally caused you harm you can sue the employer in civil court. However, you again need to retain the expertise of an attorney in cases such as these, and you must be able to prove your employer caused intentional harm to you while at work.  Examples of intentional harm are:

  • Assault – physical battery or threat of physical harm
  • Emotional distress
  • False Imprisonment

Exception # 4 – Defective Product or Toxic Substance.

If your injury was caused by a defective product or a toxic substance you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the product or a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the substance that caused your injury.

If you’re unsure how to proceed with your workmans comp claim, or you need help with other employment issues, please contact TMH law today!