What is Involved in a Workers' Compensation Lawsuit?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 February 2020
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A workers' compensation lawsuit involves an employee suing an employer for damages because of an injury sustained in the work place. Lawsuits are also common in situations where an employee is killed as a result of a work place accident. Laws in countries around the world enable courts to award substantial damages to injured workers. The worker must satisfactorily prove to the court that the injury caused the worker to lose income or incur medical expenses.

When an employee is injured at work, the employee or the employee’s family normally contact the employer's human resources department and find out if the company plans to cover the injured party’s costs. Many companies have liability insurance which covers work place injuries. When a liability insurance payout is not sufficient to cover the injured employees expenses or if the company has no liability insurance in place, the injured employee can file a workers' compensation lawsuit.


Workers' compensation lawsuit attorneys are often lawyers with a background in industrial relations who also have specialized knowledge of workers' rights and employer liability. Lawyers receive a share of any damages that the court awards the injured party but in order to reduce costs, most lawyers attempt to agree to an out of court settlement. If the employer fails to agree to an out of court settlement, the attorney representing the injured employee files the lawsuit. Depending on the severity of the case and the prevailing circumstances, a workers' compensation lawsuit can be handled as a civil or a criminal case.

The party making the compensation case must provide the court with evidence, often including eyewitness statements detailing the events that lead up to the injury. Normally, the injured party's lawyer must provide the court with medical records from before and after the injury to prove the employee did not have a pre-existing injury. Statements from doctors and medical staff are usually required to substantiate the injured party's claim that the injury prevented the employee from being able to work. Bills related to medical expenses and evidence of lost wages are also submitted to the court.

Employers being sued in a workers' compensation lawsuit must either provide evidence to show that the employee is not entitled to compensation due to violating safety procedures or prove that damages for the injury in question are not covered by law. A judge reviews the evidence presented by both parties before making a decision. An employer held liable must pay damages as ordered by the court, whereas as individual who files a case without merit must cover the court costs and receives no compensation.


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