Having a successful, efficient, and productive working team requires workers who can depend on each other when performing their job duties but it is unfortunately true that there are incidences of an accident or injury to an employee due to another employee’s negligence. In fact, employee negligence is one of the leading causes of on-the-job injuries in the United States. If an employee is found to be negligent by coworkers rarely then they prefer to report it to the higher authorities but if this becomes a common practice then it may pose a threat to other workers. This is when it becomes ethically correct to report the employee to higher authorities to prevent any untoward incident which may be hazardous to other employees.
It is not always that an employee is found to be negligent at work. Poor training, personal problems, or substance abuse while at work are some of the causes which may make an employee negligent to an extent that it poses a threat to coworkers for a work injury. Such employee, especially those who are high on drugs and alcohol while at work, need to be reported to the higher authorities.
What is the Role of Workers’ Compensation In Work Injury Due To Employee Negligence?
Any worker who gets injured due to employee negligence is entitled for Worker’s compensation benefits irrespective of the injury being caused due to a coworker’s mistake or as a result of any other accident. Worker’s compensation does not take negligence as a factor when deciding on whether an employee who has been injured at work is entitled to get disability benefits or not. The worker’s compensation benefits takes care of about 70% of the lost wages of the employee along with the medical expenses like therapy and other treatments that may be required, and other expenses like bills for medications and bandages.
Can An Injured Employee File a Third Party Claim For Additional Benefits For Work Injury Due To Employee Negligence?
Normally, injured workers are limited to the worker’s compensation for claiming benefits due to an on-the-job injury due to employee negligence but there are certain conditions under which the injured worker may file a third party claim against the employer for claiming additional damages caused due to the work related injury as a result of employee negligence.
This can be done if the employer does not intervene or remove the erring employee because of whom a coworker gets injured on the job. The third party claim can entitle the injured worker for benefits of payment of bills for medical expenses and other medical and surgical bills if required along with lost wages due to the Work Injury as a result of Employee Negligence.
Normally employers do not intervene even after becoming aware about the erring employee by transferring or terminating the services of the employee but if the situation worsens to the point that employee negligence may pose a threat to other coworkers then it becomes the duty of the employer to intervene and take preventive steps before an injury occurs to one of the workers due to employee negligence.
An injured worker can apply for a third party claim when the worker has ample proof that the employer did not take any corrective measures despite knowing about the erring employee and the threat that he or she posed to other coworkers. It is recommended here that until the injured worker has ample proof that the employer was not supportive in taking preventive steps in safeguarding the health of the employee then he or she should not go for a third party claim.
An injured worker can win third party claims only in cases of severe injuries like a fracture, head injury, or severe burns. Minor injuries like sprains or strains are not enough to get the claim and win the case.
What is the Role of Attorneys in Cases of Work Injury Due to Employee Negligence?
If an injured worker has sustained minor injuries like sprains, strains, or soft tissue injuries then there is no need to hire an attorney for work comp benefits. The need for an experienced attorney arises only in cases of major injury which has rendered the injured worker disabled and the chances of returning to work is not good in the near future. This is the time when the injured worker needs to hire an experienced attorney who has enough experience in handling work comp cases.
An experienced attorney will know exactly what the judge might want from the employee in terms of chart notes, radiological studies, investigations done, and other paperwork pertaining to the injury. The worker need not pay anything to the attorney in advance and needs to pay only if the attorney wins the claim for the injured worker.
In summary, if a worker incurs an on the job injury due to employee negligence then he or she is entitled for workers compensation benefits. Additionally, the worker may file a third party claim for additional benefits if he or she has ample proof that the employer did not take any action against the erring employee.
If the injuries are severe then it is always better to hire a skilled attorney to settle disability benefits and also third party claims so that the injured worker is able to get all the benefits and lost wages till the time he or she can go back to work unrestricted or in any other capacity after sustaining a Work Injury as a result of Employee Negligence.
United States Department of Labor: “Workers’ Compensation” by the United States Department of Labor Link: https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/workcomp
The Balance Careers: “Understanding Workers’ Compensation Insurance” by The Balance Careers Link: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/workers-compensation-101-2060680
Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute: “Third-Party Liability in Workers’ Compensation Cases” by the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute Link: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/third-party_liability_in_workers_compensation_cases
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