I got hurt at work so I’m going to sue my employer! Not so fast!

May 13th, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by: Attorney Richard B. Donaldson, Jr.

It is a common misconception that employees injured at work can sue their employer for civil damages.  In truth, with rare exceptions, an employee who suffers an injury by accident arising in and out of the course of employment cannot sue his employer.  Rather, the injured workers’ exclusive remedy is to file for workers’ compensation. See Virginia Code § 65.2-307.  The main exceptions to this rule arise when the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance in place or the employee has been a victim of a sexual assault.  There are additional exceptions that are beyond the scope of this article.


The main points to take from the above are the employer needs to protect itself from civil liability by obtaining and maintaining workers’ compensation insurance coverage.  For the injured employee, since no civil remedy is available, is the need to file for workers’ compensation benefits as provided by law with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. The employee must notify the employer of the accident as soon as possible and generally has 2 years from the date of the accident to file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has an excellent website at questions@workercomp.va.gov and a toll free number 1-877-614-2566.  Of course, feel free to call us here at JBWK for more information or with additional questions.

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