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Hurt on the job? Can you sue your boss?

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By James J. Biscone

It is almost impossible for an injured worker in Oklahoma to bring an injury lawsuit against his or her employer. Even if someone loses an arm or a leg, a jury will likely never hear of the life-altering loss or the workers’ altered earning capacity, no matter how negligent the employer was.

Oklahoma, like most states, has law that prevents injured workers from suing employers in district court for on-the-job injuries.

The only option: File a workers’ compensation claim and receive the limited benefits the law allows. This is an injured worker’s “sole remedy.”

However, there is a limited exception.

If a third-party is involved in the accident – a third party would include an independent company or person that is unrelated and unassociated with the employer – the injured worker may be able to sue that person or company if the injury resulted from the third-party’s negligence. Several situations could fall under this exception.

One example is when a car accident happens while an employee is on the job. When an unrelated driver negligently causes an auto accident and injures the employee, the injured worker has a right to workers’ compensation benefits and the injured worker has a cause of action against the driver of the at-fault vehicle.

When someone gets hurt, he or she needs experienced attorneys who understand the complexities of both workers’ compensation and personal injury practice.

If you do have a separate cause of action, it is imperative you know so you may recover damages. You could run out of time and forfeit the case if you do not act right away.
We can help you navigate the legal system. If there is additional recovery, we can find it.

Hiring a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of workers’ compensation and personal injury could strengthen your chances of earning what’s rightfully yours. Hiring a lawyer that only has a grasp on one or the other could cost you.

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