Can You Bring A Personal Injury Claim Against Your Employer?
Workers' compensation law governs the majority of cases where someone is hurt on the job. There are, however, a few scenarios where someone might hire a personal injury lawyer to pursue a claim against their employer. Here is what you need to know about four of the more likely situations where that might be necessary.
Gross Negligence or Wanton Disregard Occurred
These are standards of negligence that exceed the normal scope. Ordinary negligence is the legal term used to describe things that were largely accidents driven by the fact that bad stuff can and will happen. If someone forgot to clean up a pool of fluid from a shop floor, for example, and that led to an injurious fall, most folks would consider that a fairly normal accident.
Suppose your boss ordered you to climb inside of a machine knowing it could crush you. The fact that you were told to do something that your boss knew was dangerous is considered a form of wanton disregard. Simply put, they knew you could be hurt, but they didn't care enough to prevent the incident from happening. In this scenario, a personal injury attorney would probably be comfortable filing a claim or lawsuit against a client's employer.
Workers on Some Vessels
A significant portion of American law governing injuries on vessels comes from the Jones Act. This is a law that dictates, among many other things, who does or doesn't count as a seaman for legal purposes. If someone is a seaman, they will have to pursue an injury claim against their employer rather than working through the standard workers' comp system.
A person is usually considered a seaman if they spend at least 30% of their job time onboard a vessel. This can create confusion about the claims process for individuals who work in fishing, water transport, and tourism jobs.
When an employer hires someone as a contract worker, they don't have to pay for insurance to cover workplace injuries. Generally, a contract worker is someone who legally can accept or refuse assignments at will without worrying about losing their job. Notably, some employers abuse this system to get out of paying for insurance. Unfortunately for them, that opens them up to being sued under personal injury law.
Some employers will allow their insurance to lapse. If this happens, the standard recourse for an employee is to directly pursue an injury case.
For more information, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.