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Exceptions to the workers’ compensation “exclusive remedy” rule in PA

In our last post, we pointed out that there are limitations on when compensation is available to an injured worker outside the workers’ compensation system. That is the case in every state, including Pennsylvania. This is why workers’ compensation is sometimes called the “exclusive remedy” for workplace injuries.

In reality, most states do allow some exceptions, and Pennsylvania does as well. The circumstances under which an injured employee can sue an employer are very rare, though. One such circumstance is when an employer fails to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Naturally, without having that insurance to fall back on, it only makes sense that the employee should be able to receive compensation in tort liability. 

Another circumstance where tort liability may be pursued is when an employee was subjected to wrongful termination or retaliatory discharge. This can happen when an employer lashes out at an employee who files for workers’ compensation benefits by firing the worker. Because this can leave the worker without workers’ compensation benefits, he or she may be allowed to seek pursue damages.

Situations in which an employer intentionally causes injury to an employee can also involve the possibility of tort liability. This rule is similar to the rule in other states, but there are variations from state to state, so it is important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Doing so ensures not only guidance as to the law, but also advocacy in navigating the court system and putting the best foot forward in court. 

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