Workers Comp. and Employer Lawsuit Immunity

  1. Has anyone else ever worked for a company that isn't connected with State Worker's Compensation agencies and instead uses its own "insurance"? If so, has your employer also coerced you to sign away your right, as an employee, to sue over legitimate claims in order to obtain the company's alternate in house worker's comp? I can kind of sort of see how a larger corporation could get away with circumventing state Worker's Comp. agencies but I'm wondering where the mandate to tag on the lawsuit immunity clause to the company owned worker's comp. insurance originates. I'm wondering how this is legal. Any thoughts?
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   lindarn
    Quote from RC1
    Has anyone else ever worked for a company that isn't connected with State Worker's Compensation agencies and instead uses its own "insurance"? If so, has your employer also coerced you to sign away your right, as an employee, to sue over legitimate claims in order to obtain the company's alternate in house worker's comp? I can kind of sort of see how a larger corporation could get away with circumventing state Worker's Comp. agencies but I'm wondering where the mandate to tag on the lawsuit immunity clause to the company owned worker's comp. insurance originates. I'm wondering how this is legal. Any thoughts?
    I would contact an Employment Attorney and get his/her take on the whole thing. I wouldn't take their word for it. Don't sign anything until you do. MHO, and I don't trust anyone!

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
  4. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from RC1
    Has anyone else ever worked for a company that isn't connected with State Worker's Compensation agencies and instead uses its own "insurance"? If so, has your employer also coerced you to sign away your right, as an employee, to sue over legitimate claims in order to obtain the company's alternate in house worker's comp? I can kind of sort of see how a larger corporation could get away with circumventing state Worker's Comp. agencies but I'm wondering where the mandate to tag on the lawsuit immunity clause to the company owned worker's comp. insurance originates. I'm wondering how this is legal. Any thoughts?
    Workers Comp was bought into existence to provide medical treatment and income to injuried workers. When one files a WC claim, one gives up the right to sue one's employer. This is case law in every state. One does not have to file a WC claim but one has to be ready to absorb the cost of his own medical care and the loss income, in hopes of winning a lawsuit at a much later date. Not all WC funds are state directed, in terms of the agency in charge. Some states allow insurance companies to provide coverage.

    Grannynurse
  5. by   Katnip
    Don't sign anything until you talk to an attorney.

    I worked for a workmen's comp insurance company once. Some of those contracts that say you will not sue also will restrict how much money you will be able to get. In our company it was never 100%, and the time to receive it was also restricted, whether the injury was resolved and the person was able to return to work afterwards or not.
  6. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from cyberkat
    Don't sign anything until you talk to an attorney.

    I worked for a workmen's comp insurance company once. Some of those contracts that say you will not sue also will restrict how much money you will be able to get. In our company it was never 100%, and the time to receive it was also restricted, whether the injury was resolved and the person was able to return to work afterwards or not.

    Once you make a WC claim and it is accepted, you lose all rights to sue your employer. The only time an employee can sue is when there is evidence of third party liability. Then the employee must sue the offending party, not his employer. And the employer and/or insurance company can place a lien against any potential recovery.

    Grannynurse
    Who worked ten years in WC case management
  7. by   pattymac
    I work for a large hospital and that is they way we do it here. It was also the way it was done the last place I worked. I haven't had to use, but I know people that have and they had no complaints. Also, you don't have a choice. If you want to work here, that's the way it is.
  8. by   RC1
    Thanks, I appreciate all the info. I decided that I didn't want to make any waves so I just signed it. I'll get a new job if it becomes too bothersome for me. No biggie. I can also appreciate that once you have filed a WC claim that you can not sue the employer; that seems straight forward enough; however, from what I'm seeing here, the company WC insurance policy is the only game in town and it is held over your head somewhat. You can either not sign it and have no WC insurance what-so-ever at all or, you can sign it and have company owned physicians and arbitrators decide your claim. That's not sooo bad in and of itself except tagged onto the agreement to use the company owned WC insurance is the stipulation that you can not sue your employer under any circumstances i.e. regardless of whether you utilize their claim sevices or not after an injury. In a large corporation, assuming 100% or near 100% compliance, this effectively makes the corporation immune to lawsuits. While I certainly don't forsee any reason to sue my employer, it seems very coercive and underhanded to me. In a nutshell, the whole thing seems like a subtle way of giving a corporation legal immunity from its employees and, forgive my political plug, it seems very consistent with the direction the Republicans are taking the country. that's probably my biggest issue with it right there.
  9. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from RC1
    Thanks, I appreciate all the info. I decided that I didn't want to make any waves so I just signed it. I'll get a new job if it becomes too bothersome for me. No biggie. I can also appreciate that once you have filed a WC claim that you can not sue the employer; that seems straight forward enough; however, from what I'm seeing here, the company WC insurance policy is the only game in town and it is held over your head somewhat. You can either not sign it and have no WC insurance what-so-ever at all or, you can sign it and have company owned physicians and arbitrators decide your claim. That's not sooo bad in and of itself except tagged onto the agreement to use the company owned WC insurance is the stipulation that you can not sue your employer under any circumstances i.e. regardless of whether you utilize their claim sevices or not after an injury. In a large corporation, assuming 100% or near 100% compliance, this effectively makes the corporation immune to lawsuits. While I certainly don't forsee any reason to sue my employer, it seems very coercive and underhanded to me. In a nutshell, the whole thing seems like a subtle way of giving a corporation legal immunity from its employees and, forgive my political plug, it seems very consistent with the direction the Republicans are taking the country. that's probably my biggest issue with it right there.
    I have a few suggestions. If you need legal advice contact your city, county ot state bar association. Ask for a referral to three WC attorneys. One will see you for a low cost, for about an hour. Also contact your state's Division of Workers Comp and ask for their handout regarding your rights and responsibilities. Second, while your employer may appear to hold all the cards, you still have a right to a hearing before an administrative law judge, an independent person. Very few employees ever sue their employer. The employer has much deeper pockets. It has nothing to do with compliance. You do not need to take your rights as told by your employer. Find out your rights from the state.

    Grannynurse
  10. by   RC1
    Yeah, that's what I need to do grannynurse. Allnurses is a great resource too though so I thought I would throw it out there and see what other nurses thought about this. Thanks again.
  11. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from RC1
    Yeah, that's what I need to do grannynurse. Allnurses is a great resource too though so I thought I would throw it out there and see what other nurses thought about this. Thanks again.
    Please do. I used to urge my clients to obtain the free booklet that the state of Florida puts out. It was like pulling a wisdom tooth, you had to urge, urge and urge them.

    Grannynurse

close