In our last post, we spoke briefly about the exclusive nature of workers’ compensation benefits unless certain exceptions apply. One important exception, we noted, is when an employer commits an intentional tort against an employee. This includes offenses such as battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and so on.
One of the important points that needs to be communicated here is that workers who are injured on the job by what they believe to have been the intentional actions of the employer should consult an experienced attorney to have their case examined. The risk in not doing so is that an injured worker, or the surviving family members of a deceased worker, will accept workers’ compensation benefits and thereby bar themselves from seeking more extensive recovery in court.
Working with an experienced attorney is all the more important because not every case in which an employer is perceived as having acted intentionally to harm an employee will result in a finding of liability, and pursuing a tort action would bar the claimant from workers’ compensation benefits.
So, on the one hand, injured workers or their survivors should be cautious about accepting workers’ compensation benefits from an employer, but they should also be cautious about pursuing litigation in cases where it isn’t clear that their employer acted intentionally. Sorting these matters out is certainly not easy, and the insight and guidance of experienced legal counsel is critical to ensuring one makes the best decision in pursuing compensation.