The employee.

Workers’ compensation usually will not cover injuries that arise purely from negligent actions of an employee. Common workers’ compensation coverage exceptions include intentional acts, horseplay, or injuries that occur when an employee is intoxicated.


Under workers’ compensation law, injured employees usually cannot sue coworkers who cause an injury at work. However, this only applies to coworkers who are classified as employees. If an injury is caused by an independent contractor or someone who works for a different employer, he can be subject to an injury lawsuit.

Third parties.

Employees are often injured due to a third party’s negligence, such as equipment malfunction or improper maintenance. In these cases, workers can file a product liability claim against the manufacturers or distributors of defective products. If a non-employee caused the injury (such as the at-fault driver in a crash involving a company vehicle), the employee will likely have grounds for a personal injury claim.

It is always worth considering whether someone could be held liable for a work-related injury. Workers’ compensation provides limited benefits to injured employees, but a third-party claim can provide payment for medical treatment and disability, as well as pain and suffering damages to cover the full costs of a severe injury.


Robyn K. Factor
Helping Rhode Island personal injury and work injury clients get the results they deserve since 1994.