Determining Liability for Workplace Accidents
Each year, more than 4.5 million workers in the US get injured on the job. This averages out to more than 12,500 injuries per day, 500+ injuries per hour, and an injury every seven seconds. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the top three causes of workplace injuries are:
- Overexertion: Usually resulting from too much lifting and/or lowering of heavy objects, repetitive motions, etc.
- Object and Equipment Accidents: Getting struck by/struck against an object or piece of equipment, getting caught in a piece of equipment or machinery, getting caught, stuck, or crushed by a collapsing structure.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: Falling on a wet or slippery surface, falling from higher elevations, etc.
When an employee gets hurt in a workplace accident, they often believe that the only place they can go to get reimbursed for the losses related to their injuries is their employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. And while workers’ comp is a no-fault system that should provide some relief, the benefits available are quite limited. An injured worker can receive reimbursement for all necessary medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages for the time they missed from work, and there is some coverage available for disfigurement and other long-term injuries.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not provide any coverage for the intangible losses an injured worker suffers, such as pain-and-suffering, mental anguish, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. The good news is that there are often other avenues for recovery in workplace accidents that even many legal professionals are not aware of.
Who Could be Liable for a Workplace Accident?
Under most circumstances, an injured employee is not allowed to sue their employer for a workplace injury if the employer has workers’ compensation coverage. However, there are often parties other than the employer who could be held liable for the injury. When this is the case, the employer can file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the responsible party.
Determining liability for a workplace accident starts with a thorough investigation that examines all relevant facts and pieces of evidence, so you can get to the bottom of what happened and who ultimately caused the injury. This is why it is very important to work with a firm that has extensive experience with these types of cases, so their attorneys know what to look for and how to recover maximum compensation.
There are several parties that could be responsible for workplace accidents, these may include:
- A contractor or subcontractor who was working alongside the employee who got injured.
- An architect or engineer whose faulty design causes a structure to collapse.
- The driver of a vehicle that crashes into an employee’s vehicle while they are on the clock.
- The owner or caretaker of a property whose negligence causes an employee to get injured while working off-site.
- The manufacturer or seller of a defective or dangerous piece of equipment or machinery.
Case Study: Injured Coal Worker Secures Seven-Figure Product Liability Settlement from Machinery Accident
Recently, BJC was involved in a case on behalf of a coal worker whose left arm got caught in the drill chuck of a roof bolting machine. This caused his arm to break, and he hung by his broken arm for about an hour until his coworkers finally cut his sleeve loose and freed him. The injured worker went to other attorneys who told him there was nothing they could do, but when we examined the case, we found that the seller of the sleeve was the responsible party.
It turned out that these sleeves were marketed to the coal industry as personal protective equipment (PPE), but no warnings whatsoever were given about the dangers of wearing a highly tear resistant sleeve while working with rotational equipment. The worker has several permanent injuries, and he can no longer do his job or participate in many other activities that he once enjoyed. The defendant recently agreed to pay our client a seven-figure settlement for his losses.
Injured in a Workplace Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance
If you or someone close to you suffered a workplace injury, you may have legal avenues outside of a workers’ comp claim. At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have more than four decades of experience standing up for working people, and we can meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and go over all of your options.
The consultation is totally free, and if we end up taking your case, we will not charge any attorney fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. All it costs you is a little bit of your time to find out where you stand. To get started, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online. We look forward to serving you!