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In many cases, injured workers are understandably upset by the employer’s inattention to safety measures or negligence. In work injury cases, the employer is responsible for the claim, even if the accident was unavoidable; in fact, the employer’s negligence does not make the employer more responsible. There is no additional award of benefits if the employer was more negligent, and there is no loss of benefits if the accident was unavoidable. Therefore, while injured workers may want to concentrate on what the employer did wrong, the lawyer representing the injured worker will not spend very much time or resources on the employer’s conduct, since, in the eyes of the law, the employer is equally responsible, regardless of their conduct. The lawyer will concentrate on the injuries and the results of the work injuries, such as permanent loss of function or loss of earning capacity.
There is a legal basis for filing a civil action, or law suit, against a fellow employee who was so grossly negligent that he or she knew that the injury would happen. That standard requires a finding that the fellow employee know not only that it would happen sooner or later, but that it would happen to that worker at the time that it happened. That is such a high burden, that only a handful of such cases have held the employer grossly negligence since the law was changed many years ago.
Claims against others related to the injury. On the other hand, if a worker was injured due to faulty equipment or material provided by another company, or was injured by someone who is not an employee, the worker may be able to file a civil action, or lawsuit, against that company or person. That would include someone who is driving for the employer, and is hit by another car or truck. Such claims are called “third-party actions,” and are allowed under the law. The insurance company may be able to recover their costs out of that third-party action, and the balance goes to the injured worker; the insurance company’s right is often referred to as the right of “subrogation.” In fact, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier can file a third-party action, or lawsuit. on their own, in your name, to recover their costs, even if you do not agree to participate. In that case, they have to pay you any amount they recover after their costs are paid, minus attorney fees.
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