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When Two Chances or Two Bites Will Do

How many times have we heard that “you only get one chance in life” or “you only get one bite of the apple?”

We have been told this countless times. In an on-the-job injury those adages may not be quite true.

A worker cannot sue his/her employer. Our workman’s compensation statute provides the employer with immunity from a tort suit. See Massachusetts General Laws chapter 152. That is the trade off for receiving workman’s compensation benefits. The employee gets a portion of his/her lost wages, his/her medical bills paid for, but receives nothing for pain and suffering. On the other hand, there is no requirement to prove negligence to receive this limited compensation.

Let’s revisit our notion of second chance or second bite. Maybe it is not really a second chance, but there is an additional avenue for compensation: if the employee’s accident was caused by the negligence of someone, not the employer, then a third-party suit is permitted. We do see this in construction cases, in cases where the employee is a delivery person, or where the employee is in an auto accident while on the job. A personal injury lawsuit can be brought for damages, including pain and suffering, in addition to the worker’s compensation claim. The American worker gets a rare break.

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  • The Boston firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C. specializes its practice in the area of personal injury.

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