Our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers are often ask by people injured on the job about the avenues for collecting compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Sometimes, a victim wishes to sue an employer or former employer, which is generally not possible. Others believe workers’ compensation is the only avenue of recovery available, which is also incorrect.
Workers’ compensation insurance is carried by your employer and is designed to compensate those who become injured on the job, regardless of fault. In what’s known as the “compensation bargain,” your coverage under workers’ compensation laws means you forfeit your right to sue for the tort of negligence.
However, that does not mean that workers’ compensation is an injured employee’s only avenue of compensation. A third-party liability claim may be filed against a party other than the victim’s employer in cases where negligence led to an accident.
This is important because, while workers’ compensation is designed to pay medical bills and lost wages for a period of time after an accident, it will not compensate for pain and suffering or pay punitive damages to a victim who is seriously injured or killed as a result of a negligent party.
Those in the transportation, construction and utility industries face some of the highest accident risks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most commercial loads are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Cargo Securement Rules. These requirements dictate all loads must be able to withstand deceleration or acceleration forces of between .5 and .8g from forward, rearward and lateral directions.
The rules also address marked and unmarked tiedowns, anchor points, and other placement and restraint requirements. Additional rules exist for logs, dressed lumber, metal coils, paper rolls, concrete pipe, intermodal containers, automobiles, roll-on containers, boulders, gases and hazardous materials.
In Alabama work-safety news, Scholar Craft Products Inc, was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which recently charged that the company had 25 health and safety violations at its Birmingham furniture plant during a recent inspection. The company is accused of exposing workers to combustible dust and other hazards. It has 15 days to contest the allegations, as well as the proposed $94,500 in fines.
Man dies in incident at Theodore business, By Ellen Mitchell, Press-Register Aug. 20, 2012.
Judicial Review in Workers’ Compensation Cases Discussed in Gilmore v. Director, Department of Labor, Cross & Smith LLC, April 9, 2012.