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Suing For Work-Related Injury

(File photo.  Credit: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(File photo. Credit: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - When can you sue your employer for accidents on the job?

A waitress in a New Jersey catering facility was wheeling out a flaming pig when the grain alcohol poured on it caused it to erupt, burning her. So that happened. She got workers comp for the pork burn, and then sued the catering business.

Then she got burned a second time. This time by the court that tossed her case.

Why? Because, under the workers compensation law, you can’t sue your employer.

Workers compensation is a benefit system designed to help those injured on the job. It’s what’s called a “no fault” system. The worker files a claim and if the injury resulted from a work accident, he is paid a set percent of his wages whether the employer was at fault or the worker was. So, he still gets paid unless the injuries are self-inflicted or the result of drugs or alcohol use on the job and the employer can’t be sued unless the injuries to the worker were done intentionally by the employer.

Since there was no evidence that the caterer intended to harm anyone (except the pig), the courts hands were— – say it with me – hogtied.