Workers who suffer serious injury on the job are often put at a considerable disadvantage. Firstly, your workplace is your source of income. An injury can hamper your ability to secure that income. Secondly, seeking damages through workers compensation can be a lengthy and difficult process that often ends in a claim being rejected.
Workers compensation should however not be the single resolution someone injured on the job should pursue. That is because oftentimes workplace injury can be caused by circumstances that lend themselves to liability on the part of several entities or people leaving personal injury damages on the table. Here are four reasons workers compensation should not be the only avenue you pursue when injured on the job.
1) Injuries in the Workplace Can Often Be Linked to Dangerous Conditions That Should Have Been Corrected by the Employer: When injuries occur in the workplace, it is often because an employer allowed work conditions to deteriorate so much that an accident was bound to happen. Of course, some work environments are inherently dangerous. Construction sites, for example, offer much more dangerous conditions than a supermarket. Workers from the former have to take precautions from falling debris and hazardous materials that are not often found in the typical office setting, for example.
In cases where the workplace is inherently dangerous, employers are required to still maintain a certain measure of safety and provide safeguards to protect their employees or contractors. What level of safety and what kinds of safeguards? Well, that really depends on the industry and the workplace. But no matter what, every workplace is required to maintain a certain level of safety from unnecessarily hazardous conditions. Take a hospital, for instance. There aren't often instances of flying debris in medical settings, however, there is certainly a measure of danger in the level of contaminants often introduced to a hospital setting. Hospitals and medical centers are required by OSHA to maintain certain levels of safety and cleanliness to ensure that biological fluids like blood and waste and anything contaminated with or by them are contained in a safe and consistent manner to reduce the possibility of spreading disease.
Of course, in the normal course of “business,” pathogens do spread sometimes in hospital settings. We have heard in the past where hospital borne pathogens spread from patient to patient. But if conditions are not maintained according to standards and a nurse or an orderly is exposed unnecessarily to pathogens in the course of their work, they may be eligible to file a personal injury claim for damages.
2) Sometimes Workplace Injuries Result from Defective Products: When workplace injuries result from the use of a defective product (e.g. a malfunctioning power tool or a hazardous chemical without appropriate hazardous warnings), the manufacturer and/or another party in the product's chain of distribution could be liable for your injuries. Defective products law cites three reasons why you may be eligible to receive compensation outside your employer or workers comp when injured using a product: (1) the product may be defectively manufactured; (2) the product may be defectively designed; or (3) the manufacturer and other entities responsible for getting the product out to the market may have failed in their responsibility to warn consumers and the buying public about the inherent dangers in their product's use or proper instruction as to how to use the product safely.
If the cause of your workplace injury stems from a defective products, neglecting to seek personal injury damages from the manufacturer and all appropriate defendants in the chain of distribution could leave compensation you deserve off the table.
3) A Workplace Injury Could Result from a Subcontractor's Neglect: In fields like construction, oftentimes subcontractors are on the site managing a portion of the build. If you are injured on the job when that occurs the subcontractor may indeed be responsible for your injuries. The crux of this argument is that the subcontractor has control of workplace conditions and is responsible for maintaining a certain level of safety. If that is not done, any injuries that result could leave the subcontractor responsible for damages.
If you have been injured on the job, it's important to seek the counsel of an experienced workplace injury attorney like those at Panio Law Offices in Chicago. We have a wealth of experience working on behalf of individuals injured on the job, winning the highest awards for our clients. Call us today at (708) 928-8680 if you have any questions about filing a personal injury claim. We can help.