Q: I am beginning the workers’ compensation claims process and keep hearing about exclusive remedy—what does it mean?
The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system is meant to protect workers who suffer from illness or injury as a result of their job. Workers’ compensation benefits include providing victims with compensation and funds for medical care, treatment, and lost wages that resulted from their injuries.
What Is Exclusive Remedy?
Because workers’ compensation insurance is an employer-provided, comprehensive program meant to offer workers’ a full-spectrum system of benefits, the state of Pennsylvania limits your ability to pursue compensation outside the workers’ compensation system. This is referred to as exclusive remedy, in the sense that workers’ compensation will be your only option to recover damages after your on-the-job accident.
You may find yourself asking, if workers’ compensation is meant to be so comprehensive, why would you even need to pursue remedy outside its limits? For many people, it is about principle. If your employer or co-worker’s negligence caused your accident, you may be feeling as though you are being cheated of justice. Many people feel as though their accident was so damaging that they deserve more than simply funds to “get by.”
Because of Pennsylvania’s exclusive remedy rules, it is very difficult to pursue a lawsuit for a workplace injury outside the scope of workers’ compensation. In rare circumstances, however, it can be done. These examples could include:
- Your employer intentionally caused you harm
- A third party (not a coworker or your employer) caused your injury
- Your injury was caused by a defective product
If you think that your case may open the possibility to pursue a third-party lawsuit outside the workers’ compensation system, it is important to meet with an attorney to discuss your options. Contact our firm today by phone or by filling out our online contact form, and help ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve for your workplace injury.