Please Call One of Our board-certified Worker's compensation Specialists For a Free Consultation (833) 444-4127

Cardinal Law Partners.

Please Call One of Our board-certified Worker's compensation Specialists For a Free Consultation (833) 444-4127

  • Published: June 20, 2024
Can I sue my employer or my co-worker for my work-related injury?

As a general rule, an injured employee’s only recourse for a work-related injury is filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with the N.C. Industrial Commission. This is called the exclusivity clause. However, there are exceptions to this general rule based on the facts of how the injury occurred at work.

As was highlighted by the N.C. Court of Appeals in Estate of Desmond Stephens v. ADP Total Source (2023) and Alderette v. Sunbelt Furniture Express Inc. (2024), there is the basis for an injured employee suing her/his employer or co-worker for the work-related injury when there is evidence of the following:

  1. The employer intentionally engaged in misconduct knowing that such misconduct was “substantially certain” to cause injury or death.
    1. “Substantial certainty” being more than a mere possibility or substantial probably.
  2. A co-worker acted with willful, wanton and reckless negligence and this was the cause of the injured employee’s injury or death.
    1. This may be a co-worker’s intentional failure to carry out a duty imposed by law or contract which is necessary for the safety of those to which it is owed.
    2. This may be a co-worker’s actions which manifest reckless disregard for the safety of others, even though there is no evidence of intent.

These types of cases are very fact specific in terms of being able to sue the employer or a co-worker, so if you have any questions about whether or not you are able to pursue such a claim, please feel free to reach out to one of the Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists at Cardinal Law Partners for a free consultation by calling (833) 444-4127.

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