Workers’ Compensation protects both employer and employee
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of business insurance, paid for by employers, which provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. The insurance helps pay injured workers for medical care and wages from lost work time. The benefit to the employer, for paying this insurance, is that it cannot be sued by an employee. It appears to be a simple quid pro quo.
So, it’s not unusual that many people injured on the job feel that filing for workers’ compensation benefits are their only remedy, because as we just learned, you can’t sue your employer.
Exceptions to the rule
While technically this is true, there are multiple exceptions. This past week alone I was working on three different cases, each with its own exception, which I will explain below:
- Bank employee struck in the head with a ceiling tile while working at her desk
- A man working on a loading dock is injured when a truck suddenly moves, and he falls
- Employee slips at bakery where he works and breaks his elbow
In the first instance, a female banker is working at her desk. Construction is taking place on a portion of the premises, and the room feels like its vibrating. Suddenly, a tile falls from the ceiling and strikes her in the head, causing a traumatic brain injury. The employer bank will pay workers’ compensation, but the construction company that caused the vibration, can be sued due to their negligence in not clearing out the bank of workers before construction started. Likewise, the building owner has a non-delegable duty to keep its property in good and safe condition, which they clearly failed to do. So, while the employer can’t be sued, both of these other parties can be named in a separate personal injury lawsuit.
In the second matter, a driver for a food company pulls his truck into the loading dock of a food warehouse. While the vehicle is being unloaded by a dock worker, the driver doesn’t realize the man is in the truck and moves the vehicle, causing the man to fall and fracture his leg. Again, the man will collect his work comp benefits from his employer but, in this instance, he can also sue the owner and driver of the truck for negligence.
Finally, a man slips at the bakery in which he works, because a garbage bag is leaking, causing grease to coat the floor. Here, there is theoretically no other party to sue but, when the man applies for compensation benefits, he is told the company never paid for workers’ compensation insurance. Guess what, if you don’t have work comp insurance, you can be sued by an employee.
Let us help you with your financial recovery
Recovering from an injury caused by an accident can be a difficult process, and it can put your family’s lifestyle in jeopardy. Workers’ compensation benefits help, but they won’t last forever, and the benefit never pays more than about 2/3’s of your lost income. Try taking a 33% pay cut and tell me how that works out. As just demonstrated, you may have additional lucrative remedies that can make your life much more manageable. So, if you fall into this category, please call for a free consultation. As lawyers focusing on personal injury accidents, we know the exceptions to workers’ comp, and it could change your life’s path. I look forward to meeting you.