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Can I sue my employer for unsafe work conditions?

Harrisburg, PA |

I work for a service plaza that requires me to walk across a large parking lot that is owned by them and the adjoining service station. A year ago, I was attacked by a dog in the parking lot. It belonged to a customer that quickly left as soon as he learned that the police were called. I wound up having to get a series of rabies shots and several stitches. When I talked to the manager on duty, she said that she was aware of the dog and had spoken to the owner about tying up the dog, but that she didn't follow up on it and was sorry that I was injured. I feel it is negligent on their part to not do more to ensure the safety of their employees when there was a known potential danger.

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Attorney answers 4


In most cases, you cannot sue your employer pursuant to the, Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, even if you are injuries with a result of the negligence of your employer or a co-employee. In that regard, lawsuits against your employer are "barred" by the PA Workers Compensation Act, as amended. In instances where your employer does not have Workers Compensation Insurance, you are able to sue your employer directly, however, must prove that your employer was negligent and caused your injuries, which is a much higher burden of proof than in a Workers Compensation Claim.

If your employer is arguing that the work-related injury did not occur while in the course and scope of your employment, and are successful in precluding your Workers Compensation Claim as a result thereof, that would preclude your employer from utilizing the immunity otherwise afforded by the Workers Compensation Act when defending against a subsequent lawsuit for negligence.

If the injuries that you sustained or as a result of a "third party" you would certainly be able to sue the negligent party and still pursue a Workers Compensation Claim.

In light of the facts which you have presented it is my recommendation that you immediately contact an experienced Workers Compensation Attorney to assist you with the Workers Compensation Claim and who may also be able to provide you with advice as to whether or not there are any potential third parties against whom a cause of action for negligence could be raised.

For further information, please refer to the link to my website below regarding these types of causes of action.


The scenario which you describe is clearly a compensable Worker's Compensation injury. Worker's Compensation is your sole remedy. This is not a situation where you could sue your employer.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate by clicking the up icon. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links:


Your Employer should be shielded from additional liability by the WC Exclusive Remedy. The Dog Owner may face negligence liability for having the dog off-leash.

We give free general concepts to be helpful, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your state before you RELY upon any legal advice.


I agree with the above answers. I also note that you have two years from the date of injury to sue the dog owner, so you must act soon.

Feel free to call or email me to further discuss your case. This answer does not create an attorney/client relationship and is for informational and educational purposes only.

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