Workplace accidents occur daily, and cause lasting damage to both victims and their families. Workplace accidents and fatalities also negatively impact the United States as a whole. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that employers pay around $1 billion per week just in workers’ compensation costs. The Bureau of Labor statistics reported that in 2017, there were 5,147 individuals killed while doing their jobs.
Most business owners and companies adopt a no-nonsense approach to safety in the workplace, especially since there is link between employee safety and productivity. Indeed, any company can observe safety ordinances by learning and adhering to government outlined procedures.
Beyond Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Accidents
When workers are injured due to workplace accidents, many feel their sole remedy is to collect workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are several situations in which the injured worker can sue another party for his or her injuries without the limitations on recovery placed by workers’ compensation laws.
While workers’ compensation prohibits an injured worker from suing his or her employer or a fellow employee for injuries caused by ordinary carelessness (“negligence“), it also covers injuries caused the worker’s own carelessness.
However, when the injuries are due to the carelessness of a third party, injured workers are free to sue that entity without being limited by workers’ compensation laws regarding the amount they can recover. If a worker is injured in an automobile accident while running a job-related errand, he or she can collect workers’ compensation benefits from his or her employer. If the accident was caused by another driver who does not work for the same company, the injured worker can also sue that driver for all injuries and damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Many workplace accidents and 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 product 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.
When a Company Fails To Do Its Job
Some occupations, like construction, electrical, dock work ,or off-shore oil rig work can be inherently dangerous. For example, working on scaffolding or tower cranes, or working with tools like table saws. Even so, there are numerous safety practices employers should, and in many cases, must put into place to protect such employees. Sadly, some companies care more about their bottom line and cutting costs than they do about protecting workers.
This short-sighted response often results in disaster. Companies that try to save money by not purchasing protective items like ventilators and goggles for employees who must handle asbestos subject these employees and their families to the risk of a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. This is because asbestos can attach to clothing and cause illness to anyone who touches them.
The Aftermath of Injury and Death from Workplace Accidents
In the wake of a workplace injury or fatality, associated costs can threaten the financial security of victims and even leave them without a source of income. In situations of debilitating injury, medical bills can swallow savings, retirement funds and college funds as family members struggle to adjust, both economically and emotionally. When a death occurs, funeral costs can also be tremendously draining. If the individual who died was a primary wage earner, a family could become destitute in a very short time.
What Families Can Do
When a loved one dies due to employer negligence, survihttps://www.torklaw.com/learn/compensation/faq/ving relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. If a 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 pay their out-of-pocket medical-related costs, as well as lost earnings, and both physical and psychological pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a workplace accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. You may not be limited to worker’s compensation benefits. TorkLaw can determine whether a gross negligence claim can be filed against an employer, or if there is a third party who is liable for the full amount of the injured victim’s damages.
You and your loved ones deserve the secure future you worked hard to build. Contact us, or call 888.845.9696 now to set up a free consultation about receiving fair and just compensation to keep your life together after a debilitating accident or tragic loss.