Civil Action Arising from Work Related Injury
In general, North Carolina employees are prohibited from suing employers or coworkers in state or federal court for on the job injuries. If the employer and the employee are both covered by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, then injured employees must pursue injury claims under the workers’ compensation system. Even in situations where there was clear negligence, workers are not allowed to file a civil lawsuit. There are some exceptions, however.
Filing a Civil Suit Against Employer or Coworker
Employees may be allowed to sue their employer or another coworker in civil court if it can be proven that the accident or injury was an intentional act or the result of conduct that was substantially certain to result in death or injury. Intentionally or purposefully causing harm to an employee would fall outside of the Workers’ Compensation Act and an employee could then choose to sue the employer or a co-worker in court.
Third Party Liability Claims
Sometimes there are situations when a third party is responsible for an on-the-job injury. Because the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation does not forbid lawsuits against others who caused your injury or illness, you may be able to file a third party civil lawsuit. Third-party actions must be pursued outside of the jurisdiction of the NC Industrial Commission, typically under the jurisdiction and rules of a state or federal court. However, any recovery in the third-party action, whether by settlement or judgment, is subject to a lien in favor an innocent employer or carrier that paid workers’ compensation benefits as a result of the injury caused by the third party. An injured worker may not lawfully receive proceeds from a third-party action without following specific procedures set out in N.C. Gen. Stat. Sec. 97-10.2. This is a complex statute designed to ensure that the rights of innocent employers and carriers who paid workers’ compensation benefits as the result of injuries caused by a third-party are considered and addressed.
An experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer can review all of your legal options with you and help you obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact Our Worker’s Compensation Lawyers Today for a FREE Consultation!
If you have been injured on the job or have been diagnosed with an occupational disease, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately. At Hill Evans Jordan & Beatty, PLLC, we are skilled litigators with years of workers’ compensation experience. We will fight for your worker’s compensation claim and for your future. Call us today at (336) 379-1390 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information.