Can I sue my place of employment for pain and suffering?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue my place of employment for pain and suffering?

About 3 years ago, I was 34 weeks pregnant working at a medical center psychiatric emergency department. A patient hit the sprinkler system with a boot and about 2 feet of water came out. While I was transporting other patients to safety, I slipped and fell hurting my head and back. I had to stay at the hospital in order to monitor the baby, in which they weren’t able to do any X-rays. I went our on workers comp. leading up to my delivery, I had to make frequent doctor visits to monitor the baby. Since the fall, amniotic fluid kept leaking out due to the fall which caused doctors to induce me April 11th. April 12th my daughter and I nearly died. Due to the fall, the placenta broke up inside of me causing the baby to suffocate with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and me losing a lot of blood. The baby was in nice for multiple days and I had to receive 3-4 bags of blood transfusion. Thankfully the baby recovered. However, since the fall I have been traumatized and most likely will not be able to have successfully carry another baby. I received physical therapy and 2 back surgeries – 1 lumbar and 1 cervical disctecomies. Being that the doctors can no longer do anything for me, I had to settle my case with a section 32. My job could no longer hold my position

after 2 years. However, HR assured me that I could apply for another position being that I was deemed partial disabled to complete my job description. The deal with section 32 but it

required me to resign and basically black ball me from and other affiliated healthcare hospitals or clinics, which I find not to be fair. Since this accident, I was forced to leave my home and move in with my parents. I’ve been depressed and traumatized and it has ruined my marriage. Can I sue my ex-employer for all that I have gone through and the blackballing?

Asked on May 16, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue your employer for at least two reasons.
First, you write that a patient kicked the sprinkler system and set it off. The employer is not liable for injuries which it had no fault in causing, and it had no fault in the sprinkler going off and spraying down the water on which you slipped. Therefore, they are not liable for your injury or its 
Second, as to the "blackballing," you could only sue IF you can prove that they told other businesses/employers/etc. untrue negative facts--not opinons; only facts--about you, in which case you could sue for defamation. But the issue is, only an untrue factual assertion, such as that you stole when you did not, that you assaulted a patient when you did not, that you stole from work when you didn't, etc., is defamation. If they told others in the industry to not hire you because they didn't think you were a "good" worker or they felt you were "difficult to work with" or "needy" or anything that else that is a subjective value judgment (that is, an opinion), that is legal, because anyone may share any opinion with someone else.

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 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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