In a recent North Carolina case, a worker was working through a temp agency with a company called BLW Sona. While working for the temp agency/BLW Sona, the worker was injured. The worker wanted to pursue workers compensation benefits against the temp agency and also wanted to pursue additional benefits against the company. The worker sued the company for negligence in state court. The company defended the case saying that Worker’s Compensation was the exclusive remedy. Also, they argued the claim belonged in the court of the Industrial Commission which handles workers compensation cases.
Generally, it is the rule that if you are injured while working, Worker’s Compensation is your only remedy from your employer. In other words, generally, you cannot sue your employer in civil court for negligence. There are exceptions to this rule. The claimant in this case was hoping an exception would apply. In this case, plaintiff was alleging that his employer was the temp agency and therefore he was able to sue the BLW Sona company in state court for negligence. The Court of Appeals held that:
If plaintiff was an employee of defendant, as well as of the temp agency, plaintiff may only seek compensation for his on-the-job injuries under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
So, in this case the worker was limited to the workers compensation benefits. However, these cases are complex and fact dependent. In this particular case, the Court analyzed a number of factors to reach this conclusion. If you have been injured on the job, call an attorney who can carefully evaluate your facts and determine your best course of action. You can find out what benefits you are entitled to only thorough analysis by an attorney familiar with your particular facts. You can call this office today for a free consultation.