Is My Co-Worker Liable for My Injury?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What happens when the employer refuses to acknowledge my claim?”


Co-workers — you either hate them or you love them. Regardless of your personal feelings, in most employment situations you will be working with other people. For most people, co-workers are people they interact with at work and do not really see outside of working hours. What happens, though, if you have been injured at work and your co-worker is partly or wholly responsible? Can you hold him or her legally liable for the damages caused? Or, is your employer liable for those damages?


construction-in-process-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Charlotte-Workers-comp-attorneys-300x225In most situations, if you are injured at work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation insurance is required of most employees in the state of North Carolina. Workers’ compensation provides benefits for work related injuries. So, if you are injured on the job and are unable to perform the functions of your job, you can still receive payment. The idea is that a workplace injury should not financially ruin you with a lack of wages.


If a worker submits a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the law usually prohibits that worker from further suing the employer in a personal injury suit for additional damages. Workers’ compensation will provide benefits for lost wages and medical expenses, but does not provide compensation for pain and suffering and other types of damages. These other types of damages could be the largest component of the total damages, but a workers’ compensation claim limits compensation for those.  What if your injuries are caused by more than just an employer’s negligence or action? What if a co-worker also played a part in your injury?


When an injury is caused by the negligence of an employer, an employee’s remedy is usually just workers’ compensation. In North Carolina, this is referred to as the “exclusive remedy” in an employer-employee relationship. This means that in the event of injury, workers’ compensation claims are the only option, not personal injury. Your co-worker’s hand in causing your injury will likely be considered with the employer’s duty. That is to say, the co-worker’s contribution to the injury is not considered separate from the employer’s.


Even if you cannot hold a co-worker personally responsible for your injury, there may be additional third-parties that are liable for damages caused by an injury. Parts manufacturers, sub-contractors, non-employees, and others could also be sued in a personal injury suit for damages. A personal injury suit against a third-party in a workplace injury could require you to pay back some of the workers’ compensation damages being received from an employer, but personal injury damages are often greater than workers’ compensation benefits.


It can be difficult to determine what options are available to you after a workplace injury. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are here to help you make those determinations. We want you to have the best resources available to recover from your injuries, and that includes the maximum amount of damages you are entitled to under the circumstances. It is important to act quickly in injury situations. Contact us today for a consultation, now taking cases throughout the Charlotte region with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and our new location in Monroe, call us at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.




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