Hello, this is Darrell Castle. I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee and on this video, I want to answer the question of when can you sue your employer outside of workers’ compensation if you have an on-the-job injury.
Can you sue your employer if your employer provides an unsafe work environment for you? If you employer breaks OSHA regulations – that’s the federal agency that regulates workplace safety and so forth (of course it’s as its state counterparts).
And the answer to that question is pretty simple, folks. In Tennessee, it’s “no, you can’t.” Workers’ composition is your sole and exclusive remedy, except when it isn’t, and that sounds complicated, but it’s certainly not complicated.
Workers’ compensation is your sole exclusive remedy, but there are a few exceptions to that.
Those exceptions are not if your employer provides an unsafe work environment, though. There might be an exception for if your employer intentionally injures you. That’s not an unsafe work environment. That is an intentional act to cause harm. That would probably take him outside the realm of workers’ compensation.
Now, the other thing I’ll tell you is that quite often, if not most of the time, workers’ compensation is actually a better remedy for you because all your medical bills are covered plus you get atleast partial wages replaced while you’re off work and you can also get a lump sum reward if you have permanent partial disability as determined by your doctor.
Another situation when you might be able to sue someone outside of a workplace injury other than workers’ compensation might be if there’s a third party involved. Like if there’s a toxic injury – some toxic release inside your company that might be caused by the company that made the toxic material – whatever it is.
Also, you might have a defective tool or machine that you’re using that might allow you a products liability case against the manufacturer of that machine. That’s a possibility.
Another possibility is if you’re injured by the employee of a company not your own company – not connected with your company at all. This is pretty common in the construction industry, for different companies to work together – contractors, sub-contractors – that is always a possibility.
But in Tennessee, workplace safety is not a possibility to take you outside workers’ compensation, folks.