Non-Subscriber Case FAQ: Do I sue my boss, the company, or both?

By Michael GrossmanJanuary 28, 2015Reading Time: 3 minutes

We got a non-subscriber work injury call from a Lubbock resident who'd been hurt pretty badly while working for a sizable company. While we won't get into any details, of course, his question was more or less this: "I want to file a lawsuit to recover money for my hospital bills and anything else I'm entitled to. But I don't want my immediate supervisor in trouble. He's a good guy and had nothing to do with it. But my brother told me I have to sue my boss in court. Is that right?"

Below, we want to answer these common questions:

  • Can I just sue my boss and not my company?
  • Do lawyers sue managers?
  • What if I don't want my manager sued, just the company?

Why we sue companies for workplace accidents.

Companies are in the business to make money, and we're fine with that. So long as what they're doing is legal, we have no quarrel with them. The problems arise, though, when their desire for profits overtakes their duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment for their employees. And trust us, it's not that hard or expensive to ensure your workers have the equipment, training, and staffing necessary to keep employees from getting seriously hurt.

We sue companies in part because they cannot be placed in jail. A company is simply a legal entity that exists more in theory than in actuality. You can't "touch" Wal-Mart, the company, even if you can physically touch a building it owns. But companies do have assets, and the law allows us to pursue those assets in the event that you lost money due to a company's or one of their employee's negligent act.

Further, and perhaps more importantly, companies have insurance money for us to go after. They protect themselves by paying large premiums every year to major insurance carriers as a contingency for just such occasions. But the insurance company does not "work" for the company, in that your boss can simply say to them, "Pay our employee the money he's owed" and it's over. That's why you need an attorney on your side to file a suit against the company, which in turn requires the insurance company to defend the lawsuit and, if a jury orders the company to pay, obligates the insurance company to pay up.

Following a work accident, would you sue your boss, or the company you worked for?
If you're injured in a non-subscriber work accident, should you sue your boss or the company you work for?

We rarely sue bosses on an individual basis.

You might be furious at your boss. Maybe it was his fault that your accident happened. For example, we've had cases where employees repeatedly went to their boss and complained about how unsafe a piece of machinery was, only to be told to stop fussing and get back to work. And then, a few weeks/months later, an injury occurs just as predicted.

Or, you might love your boss. Maybe the accident was the fault of a coworker who took it upon himself to do something unsafe. We've even seen cases like the ones we just mentioned where workers told their bosses something was unsafe, the boss went "upstairs" to management to complain, but the big suits decided not to spend the piddling money necessary to fix the problem.

Regardless, we'll likely not sue your boss on an individual level. This is for several reasons. First, he or she likely doesn't have sufficient assets to cover your losses so it doesn't really make much sense to spend the time and money chasing . . . nothing. Second, and this is important, the company you work for and its insurance policy can be held liable for even the stupidest decision of their employee. In other words, companies can't shield themselves by saying, "It's not our fault, it's our manager's!"

But make no mistake: if your boss caused your accident, we'll find out---and so will THEIR bosses. A non-subscriber lawsuit can shine a light into practices the company doesn't like. It's not uncommon for negligent bosses in these cases to be fired once the case is over.

You need a good lawyer to hold your boss and employer responsible:

Whoever's fault it is, you deserve compensation for what you've lost. Don't trust your case to a lawyer without a background in this area of the law. Call the non-subscriber work injury attorneys at Grossman Law Offices to at 1-855-326-0000. Your conversation with us is free and confidential.