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Suing an employer despite workers' compensation

Minnesota workers who are injured on the job should know what their compensation options are. In most cases, an injury will be covered by workers' compensation. In others, however, an employee may choose to pursue the matter further and take their employer to court.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines workers' compensation as an insurance system in place to reimburse workers who become injured during or because of their occupation. Examples can include construction workers who fall from faulty scaffolding, secretaries who develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to the repetitive motion injuries that typing can cause, or factory workers who are exposed to harmful chemicals.

However, FindLaw says that in some cases, an employee may be able to sue their employer instead of or even in addition to claiming workers' compensation. The availability of workers' compensation bars most people from suing their employer. However, there are some exceptions. For example, a worker can take an intentional tort to civil court if they believe their employer harmed them on purpose. Examples of intentional harm can include assault or battery, defamation, fraud, invasion of privacy, trespassing, false imprisonment, or the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Additionally, a third party suit can be filed if someone other than the worker or their employer was responsible for injuries that an employee incurred. Examples can include a worker being harmed by defective equipment which was sold or manufactured by someone else. Just be aware of the fact that being awarded damages for this suit may result in the worker having to repay any expenses from the workers' compensation.

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