Workplace Injuries – It’s Not Just about Workers’ Comp
Written By Thomas Hall
How many times have you seen it? An employer engages in unsafe practices, resulting in injuries to a worker. The employer finds that it’s cheaper to pay the premiums for workers’ compensation coverage than it is to change the way the employer does business. The injured employee is paid a fraction of his/her wages, their medical bills are paid, and there is no compensation for the employee’s physical pain and suffering, or loss of life’s enjoyment, or for the effect the work-related injury has had on the worker’s family. Inadequate compensation and the dangerous condition is not remedied—Atlee Hall believes this is not an acceptable solution
Whenever an employee is seriously injured on the job, workers’ comp lawyers must be on the lookout for other legal avenues of redress, in order to obtain full compensation for the client. All too often claims against third-party defendants that could be asserted in the context of a work-related injury go unrecognized, and unexplored.
There are potential claims on the “front-end” of any work related injury, and potential claims on the “back-end” as well.
“Front-end” claims are claims related to the root cause of the worker’s injury. For example, was the injured worker using a defective piece of equipment which resulted in the injury? Was the worker injured because the premises at which the injury occurred unsafe due to inadequate protections taken by the owner of the premises? Was the worker injured because of a contractor’s or subcontractor’s negligence? Any of these circumstances could give rise to a third-party claim that could provide for compensation to the victim.
“Back-end” claims include negligent acts that occur after the initial injury which exacerbate that injury. The most common among these “back end” claims are medical malpractice claims. For example, did the physician chosen by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier fail to take prompt and adequate actions to minimize the worker’s injury? Did the doctor or surgeon who treated the injured worker “malpractice” a minor injury into a life-long disability? A medical malpractice claim can provide full compensation to the injured worker.
Each case must be analyzed to see if these possible avenues are available to the injured worker, since any of these avenues will potentially provide the worker full compensation – not just the limited benefits provided under the workers’ compensation statute.
At Atlee Hall, we believe that an injured worker deserves every opportunity to achieve full compensation for the injuries sustained. If you have been seriously injured on the job, please contact us directly, or through your workers’ compensation attorney, to see if there is any way we can pursue a lawsuit on and above your workers’ compensation claim.