Being injured on the job generally qualifies a Mississippi employee for workers' compensation, and as a rule, you cannot sue your employer for the damages you suffered in the accident. However, if a third party is involved, you may be able to file a lawsuit based on that person's (or company's) negligence. We at Wood, Carlton & Hudson, P.C., often provide advice to workers who have been injured by a negligent third party.
There are many situations where you may be able to sue a third party for your work injury. For example, perhaps you were driving a forklift, and the wiring malfunctioned, causing you to sustain a severe burn. If the issue is a design or manufacturing defect, you may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible. If the issue arose because of faulty maintenance, the company that services the forklift may be responsible. Another common example of a third-party work injury is a motor vehicle accident that occurs when you are driving the company car while on the clock. The driver who caused the wreck may be held liable.
Before you choose litigation, it is important to understand that the money you win may affect the amount of workers' compensation you receive. Mississippi law states that you must inform your employer and/or its insurer about the legal action you are taking. It may be that they will also want to sue the responsible party. If so, you must use the proceeds from your award to repay them for the compensation and medical expenses they have already covered, as well as deducting attorney fees and court costs. Anything over and above that amount is yours.
More information about workers' compensation laws in Mississippi is available on our webpage.