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Understanding Exclusive Remedy Defense

Workers compensation was created to help both employers and employees in matters regarding on the job injuries.  Under workers compensation laws, the employer has sole liability for injuries sustained by an employee while that employee is performing job related tasks, “on the clock”.   It was designed to protect employers from outrageous lawsuits, and help employees be compensated for injuries in a timely manner.
Almost all states require employers to carry workers compensation insurance and all employees are covered under the plan.  In this regard, if an employee is injured on the job their sole remedy for compensation is through workers compensation which is how the term “exclusive remedy” came to be.
Third Party Injuries Not Included
Occasionally workers are injured by a third party while doing their job and those injuries are not covered by the employer’s workers compensation plan.  In those cases, the employee may bring a lawsuit against the third party.  An example might be a delivery person, taking a package to someone’s home and getting bit by that person’s dog.  The employee could have the right to seek compensation for their injury from the home owner, rather than being excluded from doing so because of workers compensation.
When Things Go Wrong
While the exclusive remedy of workers compensation was designed to protect all parties, sometimes things don’t go as planned.  Lawyers for employers work to be sure their client is not paying on false claims and that can hold up legitimate claims by injured workers.