Workplace accidents occur on a daily basis and adversely affect not only victims but their families as well. Interestingly enough, the amount of worker accidents and fatalities can also affect the United States as a whole. This is because workplace injuries amass $125 billion to $155 billion dollars in medical costs and lost labor estimates. In regards to fatal injury, 2008 recorded 5,071 accidents where a worker was killed while on the job.
It is for these very reasons that business owners and companies adopt a no-nonsense approach to safety in the work place, especially since there is link between employee safety and company productivity. Indeed, any company can observe safety ordinances by learning and strictly adhering to government outlined procedures.
When a worker is injured on the job, it is often said that his or her sole remedy is to collect workers’ compensation benefits. However, a number of situations exist in which the injured worker can sue another party for his or her injuries without the workers’ compensation limitations on recovery.
Workers’ compensation prohibits an injured worker from suing his or her employer or a fellow employee for injuries caused by their ordinary carelessness (“negligence”). Workers’ compensation even covers injuries to the worker that are caused by his or her own carelessness.
Where the injuries are due to the carelessness of a third person or company that does not employ the worker, the injured worker is free to sue such third person or company without being limited by workers’ compensation laws to the amount he or she can recover. For instance, if a worker is injured in an automobile accident while running a job-related errand, he or she has the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits from his or her employer. If the accident was the result of another driver who does not work for the same company, the injured worker can sue the driver of the other vehicle for all of his or her injuries and damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Many work-related injuries are caused by machines that are defective in their design or operation. In such a case, although the injured worker is barred from suing his or her employer, he or she would have the right to bring a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, and seller of the defective and dangerous machine. In such lawsuit, the injured worker would be entitled to recover all damages he could prove that were caused by the defective machine, without regard to any limitations imposed by workers’ compensation laws.
Some occupations like construction, electrical or off shore oil rig work can be inherently deadly in and of itself. Even so, there are numerous safety practices that are supposed to be put into place to protect such employees. Sadly, some companies care more about their bottom line and cut costs in places that may affect their ability to protect workers.
This short sighted response to a financial issue most often than not can result in disaster. An example of this would be not purchasing protective items like ventilators and goggle for employees who have to handle asbestos. This can result in the development of a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. What’s more, a worker’s family members can be placed in danger, as asbestos can attach to clothing and cause illness to anyone who touches them.
In the wake of a workplace injury or fatality, associated costs can threaten the financial security of victims and in some instances, leave them without a source of income. In situations where debilitating injury occurred, medical bills can swallow up saved nest eggs and college funds as family members scramble to adjust both economically and mentally. When a death occurs, funeral cost can also be tremendously draining as well. If the individual who died was a primary wage earner, a family could become destitute in a very short time and may potentially lose everything.
When a loved one dies due to company negligence, surviving relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. If crippling injury occurs, the victim and or their loved ones may also be able to file a personal injury claim. By taking the matter to civil court, victims and/or their families could recover financial damages that would aid them in paying for medical related costs as well as any lost earnings.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a workplace or work-related accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately to see whether there is a third party who is liable for the full amount of the injured victim’s damages, or whether the injured victim or the survivors of a killed worker are limited to workers’ compensation benefits.
You and your loved one deserve the secure future you worked hard to build. Contact us, or call (888) 845-9696 now to set up a free consultation and get the compensation you need to keep your life together after a debilitating accident or tragic loss.