Injured workers have several possibilities when it comes to obtaining compensation after an on-the-job accident. Under the New Hampshire workers’ compensation laws, most workplace accidents will not result in an employer being held civilly liable for damages an employee suffers while on the job. This is because the worker’s compensation law is an injured employee’s exclusive remedy. Thus, when someone is injured on the job, they can pursue a no-fault workers’ compensation claim, but they cannot generally pursue a New Hampshire personal injury claim against their employer.
Of course, there are a number of exceptions to this general rule. The first is if an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance. State law requires that all qualifying employers maintain a workers’ compensation insurance policy. In exchange for meeting this requirement, employers cannot be sued by an injured employee. However, when an employer fails to obtain such a policy, they are not protected by the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
Another way that an injured employee may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries is through a third-party personal injury claim. Workers’ compensation claims are between an injured employee and their employer. However, if a third-party negligently caused the employee’s injuries, that party may be liable in a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if a truck driver who is employed by a trucking company is struck by a forklift while helping unload cargo at his destination, the truck driver may have a New Hampshire premises liability claim against the store (assuming that he too is not employed by the store). Third-party claims can raise some complex issues, especially if the injured employee also obtains workers’ compensation after the accident.