Can I personally sue an employee who assaulted & injured me on the job.

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Can I personally sue an employee who assaulted & injured me on the job.

My brother assaulted me at work at our parents business. I refused to continue working with him due to fear of my safety @ work. As a result, I ended up losing my job. I now suffer back & neck pain as well as severe depression.He is currently facing criminal charges. I filed Workers Comp papers but no actual claim yet. What course of action can I legally persue with him personally, if any at all, or should I just file the WC claim?

Asked on April 29, 2009 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can sue him for battery in civil court.  If your injuries are minor, you would be best off suing him in small claims court for up to $7500.  Then you won't have to pay any attorney fees.  If your medical bills are over in the neighborhood of $2500, however, you might want to consider suing him in Superior Court.  In Superior Court you will need to hire an attorney.  If he has any homeowner's insurance, it's possible that his insurance company will pay for his defense, but they may not pay for your damages because most policies have an exclusion for an intentional tort, i.e., when someone causes damage to another on purpose.  If he has no money and no assets, I would advise you to just pursue the WC claim and not to waste your time on a lawsuit because he'd be unlikely to pay any judgment.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

An intentional battery (which seems to be what you are describing) by a co-worker probably could be the subject of a civil action, even if it happened at work.

Of course unless your brother has significant assets, what could he use to pay you should you recover a huge damage verdict against him? and if you do recover, Workers Comp generally has a lien on any recovery to the extent of what it pays out.

If he is facing criminal charges, given that he is your brother, that may be enough.


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