If you are injured on the job in Wisconsin, in most cases, your exclusive remedy is the state’s workers’ compensation system. This insurance system has been in place for more than 100 years and is designed to quickly provide compensation for lost income and for medical treatment.
It also means that you cannot sue your employer for negligence. In some cases, such a lawsuit could bring you a greater recovery than your workers’ compensation benefits, but such suits are complex and would depend on your proving your employer was negligent. A lawsuit may take months or years to play out and if you were out of work due to the injuries, making ends meet could be difficult.
The advantage of workers’ compensation is that payment can occur much more quickly. This can help you recover physically from the injury by receiving proper medical treatment soon after the injury. The income replacement can help prevent financial problems, such as falling behind on your mortgage or other bills.
One of the exceptions to the exclusiveness of workers’ compensation is if you are injured by the actions of an employee of another company. Then you may have the option to sue them directly in a negligence action.
Another exception to the workers’ compensation system’s exclusiveness would be if you were an independent contractor and not an employee. It is important to keep in mind that this determination is based on nine factors listed in the workers’ compensation statute.
Simply claiming to be an independent contractor does not make it so, and the statute is designed to make it difficult for employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid the cost of proper insurance.