Personal Injury at Work

By: Timothy McFarlin | Published: May 5th, 2010 | Category: Personal Injury

A person who is injured at work can have multiple courses of action to seek damages for an injury that resulted at work.  The reason for this is because employee protection laws are in place to protect workers from unnecessary death or injury.

If a person feels that their injury is the result of poor planning and / or leadership, they would be justified in seeking damages from their employer.  Examples of this kind of claim would include slipping on a spill that was not properly attended to, falling from a rickety ladder, or losing an eye because of faulty safety equipment.

Don’t get the wrong idea; employers have come a long way since the 1800s and 1900s, but some employers still think that breaking the law is worth saving a few hundred dollars in operational costs every month.  Poor planning and / or leadership may be the result of genuine ignorance or may be a blatant disregard for the law (the employer knows the law but refuses to obey it).  In either instance, it is never acceptable for an employee to get injured at work.

Before taking an employer to court over an injury, meeting with a lawyer would be a good idea.  A lawyer can explain the process and uncover information which can have a major impact on the case, for better or worse.  For example, if an employee failed to receive proper training on a piece of equipment and was injured as a result of using that equipment, the employer could avoid having to pay damages if they have a policy in place restricting employees from using equipment they are not trained on.  The second an employee uses a piece of equipment that they know they have no idea how to use, the liability against the employer decreases. 

On the other hand, if an employee is injured because of a lack of adherence to policies and guidelines by the employer, they stand a good chance of collecting damages in court.  For example, if an employer lied to an employee and told them that training was not required or no longer required, the employee would have a stronger case to seek damages.

One classic “What If…” scenario is:  “What if my boss forced me to or threatened to fire me if I didn’t use a piece of machinery that he knew I was not trained on and I got hurt?”

This can be a tough argument to win unless the employer held a gun to the head of the employee.  Most companies have procedures in place to report abusive or illegal behavior by superiors.  Failure to use the proper procedures may only hurt the personal injury claim of the employee.  If these procedures do not exist in a certain place of employment, the employee should seriously consider finding a new job in an environment where the rules are followed.    

The thing to remember about getting injured at work is this:  It becomes easier for a person to collect personal injury damages when they can prove that they did everything “by the book”.  As always, two wrongs don’t make a right, and personal injury claims are no different.  As an employee, getting the job done right is always better than getting the job done quick and cheap.  It is easier to go back to work after walking out for refusing to do something unsafe or illegal than it is to go back to work with decreased mobility because of an injury. 

Talking with a personal injury attorney will provide the injured employee with guidance specific to their situation for the state they are employed in.

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