A workplace accident can happen in a range of different industries. It may be a restaurant worker sustaining a severe burn from a commercial-grade dishwasher or stove. It may be a construction worker being struck or crushed by falling materials. Or it may be an electrician being injured by equipment failure or improper security measures. Even accidents that appear to be clear-cut cases of the employee’s own carelessness should be evaluated with respect to liability by experienced attorneys and qualified experts.
For the most part, an employee who is injured on the job while covered by workers’ compensation may not bring legal action against his or her employer. Further, an employee who is covered by worker’s compensation, and is injured on the job as a result of a co-worker’s negligence, will in most cases receive worker’s compensation benefits, but is prohibited from bringing legal action against the co-worker.
There are, however, some exceptions to this rule in extreme circumstances. The exceptions typically pertain to the source and cause of the injury, and the party responsible for the functioning of that source process or material. For example, in the dishwasher example the employee may be compensated for injuries and losses by the worker’s compensation policy in part. But he or she may also be in a position to bring legal action against the manufacturer of the dishwasher if a qualified investigator discovers that the machine is defective, and that the defect contributed to the injury. Similarly, if a delivery truck driver is injured on the job, and only compensated partially by his/her employer’s worker’s compensation policy, the driver may bring legal action against another party involved in the incident if that party is found to have acted negligently. For example, if the driver has left his/her delivery vehicle to deposit a package on foot, and is struck by another motor vehicle, whose driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol, a legitimate legal case may be brought against the impaired driver beyond the delivery driver’s worker’s compensation coverage.