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Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence in North Carolina?

Mon Mar 18th, by Workers Compensation |

An injury can be especially frustrating and confusing if it happens while at work or because of work. If you have been in this perplexing position, you may be wondering if you can sue your employer for negligence in North Carolina. The short answer is no, but there could be other options available to you through the help of a Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer.

Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence in North Carolina?

North Carolina employs a no-fault workers’ compensation system in which employers are required by law to have workers’ comp insurance that covers their employees. This means that employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if they caused their accident.

Any accident, injury, or illness sustained in the workplace, as well as any related medical expenses, could be fully covered by a workers’ compensation settlement. The trade-off to this is that you, as an employee, cannot sue your employer for negligent actions, even if they contributed to your injuries.

There are some exceptions to this rule, such as if the employer caused intentional harm to the employee or if the employer did not have any workers’ compensation insurance in place at all. It is also important to note that an employer cannot take any retaliatory action against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim. If this were to happen, then the employee may have grounds to pursue legal action against the employee. These cases are very rare.

You Can Sue a Third Party

One course of action that is available to you under North Carolina state law is the pursuit of compensation from a third party whom you can prove is responsible for the injury or accident. This third party cannot be your employer or a fellow employee. In these cases, the third party is typically a contractor who was onsite at the time, and their actions contributed to the injury.

For example, assume you are a delivery driver, and you are out making deliveries in your company vehicle. You are going through a green light, and another driver comes from the other side of the road, running a red light, running into you, and causing you to go to the hospital and miss a significant amount of work. You would be entitled to workers’ compensation to cover your medical expenses and lost wages because the accident happened while you were performing your work duties.

In this situation, you may also want to sue the other driver to recover damages that would not be covered by workers’ compensation. These damages could include any pain and suffering sustained. This would be permissible because the other driver is not an employee of the same company.

In this case, you would be filing a personal injury claim, not a workers’ compensation claim. Personal injury cases involve different statutes of limitations and potential types of compensation.


Q: Can You Sue Your Employer for Negligence in North Carolina?

A: No, you cannot sue your employer for negligence under North Carolina state law. The North Carolina statute N.C.G.S 97-10 outlines how an employee who sustains a work-related injury cannot sue their employer for negligence or for the cause of the accident.

It is possible, however, that you could pursue action against a third party whom you believe is responsible or contributed to the cause of the work-related accident. For example, if a subcontractor caused your injury, then you may be able to pursue legal action against them.

Q: What Is the Negligence Law in North Carolina?

A: The negligence law in North Carolina is considered to be strict contributory negligence. North Carolina is one of the few states in the United States that utilizes this standard of negligence.

Strict contributory negligence means that if it is found that the injured party contributed in any way to their own damages that were caused, they will not have the right to seek compensation for the damages. This law applies to personal injury cases but not workers’ compensation cases. Employees are eligible to receive even when they are at fault for their injuries.

Q: Can I Sue My Employer for Emotional Distress in North Carolina?

A: It is possible for you to sue your employer for emotional distress in North Carolina. Under North Carolina state law, employees are prohibited from suing their employers for negligence in the workplace. Employees are permitted, however, to sue their employers for intentional personal injury.

These claims often include arguments of a hostile work environment or other form of personal injury action that occurred. Severe emotional distress could be considered a form of personal injury. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can determine whether you have a valid case.

Q: How Long Do I Have to Sue for Work-Related Injuries in North Carolina?

A: You have two years to sue for work-related injuries in North Carolina. This two-year time limit starts from the date that the accident occurred. In the case of a work-related illness, the time limit starts from the date of the diagnosis. There are a few exceptions to this two-year rule, but they are uncommon. It is important to note that this two-year deadline is shorter than the three-year time frame for other personal injury claims.

Quality and Experienced Legal Representation

Workplace accidents are always complex situations to navigate. You may be feeling pressure from your employer or from the insurance companies to take an early settlement. However, it is important that you speak with an attorney experienced in North Carolina workers’ compensation cases. Having an experienced attorney review your case could be immensely beneficial, as it could ensure that you can obtain a fair and reasonable settlement that helps you on the road to recovery.

The legal team at M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, has over thirty years of experience in helping individuals all across the state of North Carolina resolve their workers’ compensation cases. It is important that you receive the full amount of workers’ comp available under North Carolina state law. Contact our office today to see how our team can assist you. Our team is ready and willing to fight for you.