Workplace negligence occurs when an employer fails to take reasonable action to prevent or reveal situations that may harm its employees or customers. Negligence in the workplace can fall under a variety of categories including: negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision and negligent training. In some instances, an employee may be injured in a premise liability or product liability situation. Premise liability occurs when a workplace injury or illness is a direct result of an unsafe workplace. Product liability results when the employer provides unsafe products to be used by its workers.
In these cases it may be unclear who is at fault and what your options are. In most workplace injury cases, reparation is provided by workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation is designed to prevent workplace lawsuits by providing compensation benefits to the injured party. But there are some situations that extend beyond the parameters of workers compensation. If you are experiencing injuries or illnesses that are caused by a third party other than your employer, you may be able to sue for related damages. Or if your place of employment does not offer workers compensation insurance, you may be able to sue your employer in civil court. The examples below provide more information on cases that may fall outside of workers compensation.
If you have been injured by company equipment that is defective or malfunctioning, the manufacturer of the equipment could be liable. If a lawsuit is successful, the manufacturer would be required to provide compensation for damages and related expenses. If you feel you have suffered a workplace injury as a result of unsafe machinery or equipment, consider talking to an attorney in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim. Especially if the employer is continuing to use the equipment in question.
Some workplace injuries are the result of harmful chemicals or toxic substances in the work environment that cannot be avoided. Acute injuries such as burns or poisoning appear immediately, while latent injuries can show up many years later. Common examples of latent injuries are cancer and lung diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, which are generally caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma Help Cancer Resources are available online. The dangerous effects of exposure to asbestos are well known. Workers suffering from these types of illnesses have been successful in lawsuits even when a long period of time has passed.
If you are injured by an employer’s intentional actions, you may be able to sue for damages above and beyond what is covered through workers’ compensation. In some states (but not all), an employee can file a lawsuit outside of the compensation system if their injuries are a result of direct actions of the employer. For example, if you got into an argument with the owner of the company and were physically assaulted during the altercation, you may have grounds to sue for intentional misconduct.
If you believe that your injury or illness is the result of workplace negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation and learn more about your rights.