If a co-worker sprayed me in the face with paint now my eye keeps bothering me, can I sue?

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2015

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If a co-worker sprayed me in the face with paint now my eye keeps bothering me, can I sue?

I quit the job and moved but my eye still is red and stings. I got paid in cash so there is no paper trail, so can I still sue?

Asked on August 2, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If the coworker did it on purpose, you can only sue the coworker: spraying someone with paint on purpose is assault (a crime), and an employer is not liable for employee's criminal acts. If it was by accident, the coworker and employer might be liable if it was negligent, or unreasonably careless, the way it happened.

But did you suffer any medically diagnosed injury, and have you incured medical expenses? You can only recover compensation for provable injuries or losses (which is why you need a diagnosis--to prove the injury). Furthermore, you can only recover compensation equivalent to the extent of your injury and your out-of-pocket monetary costs or losses. If, as we hope, this is just discomfort, not real damage to your eye, and you have not had significant medical costs, there is no point in suing: you could not receive enough compensation to make the time, cost, and effort of a lawsuit worthwhile.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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