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September 26, 2011

Can You Sue Another Worker for Negligence?

The law says that you can sue for damages if you are injured as a result of another person’s negligence. This is a basic right belonging to all British Columbians.

But the Workers Compensation Act says that you may not be able to sue another worker for negligence.

Section 10 of the Act says that a worker who is injured in the course of their employment due to the negligence of another worker is prohibited from taking legal action. In other words, an on-the-job worker injured at the fault of another on-the-job worker cannot sue for damages.

One of the most common worker v. worker scenarios is when a car accident occurs during the commute to or from work. This happened in BC Supreme Court case Franzke v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal.

Ms. Franzke leaves work early to avoid rush hour. She is struck by a car driven by Mr. Flowers, a business owner in the middle of his work day. Ms. Franzke sues Mr. Flowers for damages.

Ms. Franzke is a worker, as defined by the Act. So the question in this case is whether or not Ms. Franzke is “on-the-job” while driving between her office and home. The law gives WCAT complete authority to make the decision.

Usually an accident occurring during the commute to or from work is not considered an on-the-job occurrence. But Ms. Franzke left the office with the intention of working from home.

WCAT initially concludes that Ms. Franzke was a worker and that her injuries arose during her work day. The decision prohibits Ms. Franzke from taking legal action against Mr. Flowers.

The WCAT decision is upheld on appeal in Franzke v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal.

Author - Slater Vecchio


Slater Vecchio LLP is a boutique law firm located in British Columbia. Over the past 20 years, Slater Vecchio has represented thousands of clients and has grown into one of the largest personal injury and class action firms in the province.