Can you pursue a personal injury claim when you get hurt at work? The answer is: sometimes.
As a general rule, you do not have a personal injury claim against your employer or a co-worker. Nor do you have a choice as to whether to pursue a personal injury claim instead of a workers compensation claim. The Alaska Legislature passed a law taking that right away from you. It's reasoning is that it's better for everyone, the employees and employers alike, to provide workers compensation rights instead of personal injury rights. Its better for the employee because you can collect benefits even if the injury is your fault, even if you can't prove how the injury happened, even if no one was negligent. In all those circumstances, you would lose a personal injury claim. Workers Compensation is also better for the employee because the process is much faster and dependable. It's better for the employer because he will have insurance to cover the employee's benefits and because he knows he won't be hit with a huge verdict that could bankrupt him and put him out of the business.
But that is just the general rule. There are many exceptions. One common exception is if you are in a car accident that is someone else's fault and that someone is not a co-employee. In that case you can collect workers compensation AND pursue a personal injury claim.
You have the same rights if you were injured on someone else's premises (not owned by your employer), such as slipping and falling on ice. Even if you slipped at fell at your workplace, if someone other than your employer owns the building, then you can collect workers compensation AND pursue a personal injury claim.
If you have any questions regarding your case, the Law Office of Keenan Powell provides free consultations regardless of whether or not you have been controverted. To contact Keenan Powell, use the contact form on this page or call 258-7663.
For more information about Workers Compensation, see: http://www.keenanpowell.com/faq‑wc.html.