Workers' compensation is a critical resource for workers who are injured in the job, not only because of the benefits available during a worker's time of need, but also because those benefits are typically an injured worker's sole remedy for compensation. This is known as the exclusive remedy doctrine, which ensures that injured workers have a reliable source of compensation when they are injured and protects employers from excessive liability for workplace injuries.
Most states do recognize some exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule, some more than others. One important exception is third party liability. Such cases arise when a party other than the employer is found to have been responsible for the employee's injuries. Typically, proceeds of third party liability go wholly or partially to reimburse employer or insurance carrier. Other exceptions states may recognize include situations where the employer has dual capacity as both employer and manufacturer of a defective product, intentional torts and occupational disease claims.