The most important question to the worker is, “Is the lawsuit going to be against your employer? Or is it going to be against a third party, not your employer, because that’s who hurt you?”
Third Party Negligence
For instance, if you go to a work site and you are told, “We want you to paint this room.” But the person who brought you there, the premise’s owner doesn’t tell you, “Oh, and by the way, that’s a high-voltage room.” They can be sued for straight negligence. Likewise, if you got to a facility to do your job, and you’re given a defective piece of equipment, and you are told, “You can use this piece of equipment to do this,” and the equipment is defective, that’s a straight negligence lawsuit that you can file against the person who gave you the defective equipment.
I had a very interesting case once where a welder was in a chemical plant, and he got what’s called a welding ticket, which is essentially a certification from the company who owned the chemical plant that the vessel he was going to weld on had been cleaned and did not have any dangerous gases. And so he put his welding ticket in his pocket, went up on top of the vessel to do his job, and of course the vessel had not been cleaned. The chemical company had lied to him, and it exploded and blew him down four stories of grating, shattering many bones in his body.
That was straight negligence.
The other type of case is, what happens if the person you’re going to sue is your employer? That is typically the case in a coal mining case, a surface or a deep mine, as well as lots of other cases. The key there is you’ve got to have a lawyer who’s got the experience to know how to ask the right questions about what exactly was going on at the time you got hurt, and what did your boss know?
For example, if you’re going to go down in a mine, and your boss knows the ventilation isn’t working properly then they know you’re going to be seriously hurt or killed if something goes wrong. If your boss sends you down into a mine that they know hasn’t been properly fire bossed, and that it hasn’t been properly rock dusted, then if there is a spark or a pop, as it’s often called, there’s going to be serious injury or death, and they know that.
Who is Responsible?
You have got to know what questions to ask as far as, what was the worker being asked to do, who asked them to do it, and what did the company know, that was sending them into that dangerous situation, at or before the time they got hurt? By the time their workers’ compensation case is over, we’ve got a good lawsuit going for them, and we’re on top of it and moving towards getting them their day in court as a result of their workplace injury.
If you are on workers’ compensation and would like to investigate your options, contact the Segal Law Firm by clicking on the contact tab at the top of the page, or you can call (855) 344-9100.