Can I sue my employer for negligence or reckless behavior that injured me? What about workers comp?
Unless your employer did something to harm you on purpose, you generally are not going to be able to sue him for negligence - even if he was egregiously careless and reckless. This is because all states in the US have established a different system, called workers' compensation, which is an exclusive remedy system. Under the workers' comp system, employers do have responsibility to their employees for negligence and work injury, but that responsibility comes under workers comp insurance rules - lawsuits aren't permitted.
Workers compensation, in some ways, provides a larger amount of protection against negligence for an employee than litigation does. If you had to sue your employer, you'd need to prove that the employer had done something negligent and that the employer's negligence directly led to your injury. Under workers comp, you don't need to do all that because negligence isn't relevant. In fact, in many cases, even if you were somewhat negligent, you may still collect under workers comp as long as your behavior wasn't clearly a violation of your company's rules.
To collect under workers comp, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible after your work-related injury happens. Each state has a different timeframe or deadline for notification. You also need to demonstrate that your injury arose as a direct result of you doing your job; in other words, you need to show that the injury is actually work-related. Once you are able to show those things, your workers comp claim should be approved by the insurer. You should be able to receive benefits at that point, including payment of all medical bills for the work-related injury by workers' comp, as well as lost wages and disability or death benefits.
If you have suffered a work injury and want to make sure your workers' comp claim moves through the approval process as quickly and easily as possible, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer who can help you to file the right paperwork and deal with the workers comp insurer handling your case.