26 Aug Negligence of an Employer – Can You Sue Them?
And the Answer is…
Generally, no. All employers in Arizona must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover any workplace accidents. These benefits, depending on the level of injury, maybe on a temporary basis until returning to work, or may be permanent. Permanent injuries mean that employee is unable to return to work and do the same job they did before the accident. Rehabilitation may be advised, such as training for a new job – a desk job of some type.
But there are cases, unfortunately, where an employer who has a personal issue with one of the employees, demands that the employee do something on the job that others would not be asked to do. It is dangerous and beyond the scope of the job the employee was hired for. If you, as that employee, find yourself in this situation, consider carefully whether you really want to risk your well-being by doing what your employer demands, just so you can keep your job.
Getting Evidence of Wrong-Doing
Under the circumstances above, you could sue your employer if that person means to put your well-being, or even your life, at risk. But you have to have the evidence that a court and a judge would look at and getting this evidence could be tricky to obtain. If there are fellow employees around you at the time your employer makes this request to you, and they clearly heard what the employer said, then you have witnesses.
Here is one scenario that could happen. Joe Johnson who is up on the third level of scaffolding, about 20 feet up, needs a hand moving equipment from one end of that level, to the other. Your employer tells you to get up there and lend a hand. “Don’t bother with the harness and tie-off. Just get it done,” he says.
However, not taking the necessary precautions against potential falls is a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Not only that, if you trip on something while stepping backward while using both hands to help Joe move that equipment, you could fall off if the rails give way. Better yet – just use the safety gear to do the job and then get down again, regardless of whether your boss is screaming at you to hurry up. Always be safe.
When You See it Happen to Other Employees
You may not encounter such a situation, but other employees may be asked to do dangerous things. What all of you want in a workplace, is that it is a safe place to work, and you would like to go home at the end of the shift. If you are seeing numerous occasions of your employer or a manager demanding that employees do dangerous things, start taking notes of who was asked to do these things, who was making demands, date, and time, and note others in the same area.
If anyone gets hurt or killed, then there should be a lawsuit. The employer’s actions fall under willful conduct. Here are several examples given from one of our previous posts:
- “The employer’s conduct was purposeful as opposed to accidental.
- The intent of the conduct was to cause injury to the worker.
- The conduct resulted in the intended injury.
An example of willful misconduct by an employer would be punching an employee during an argument. This type of assaultive conduct could not be mistaken for something done accidentally, such as lifting a longboard and hitting another person as you were turning with it.”
What if I Opted Out of Workers’ Comp Insurance?
If you are hired at a new job but do not expect to get injured on the job, think twice before deciding you do not want workers’ compensation coverage. You never know when something could happen, such as a tornado while you are stuck at work, and the roof is damaged, falling inwards.
Call a workers compensation attorney (Phoenix) to get a free consultation on what could happen if you refuse workers’ compensation, which is usually required in writing. Be aware that even while you have no coverage, you can still sue your employer, especially if negligence is involved. Again, you need the evidence. If a number of employees are hurt in the same event, caused by negligence, then employee testimonies will be the evidence.
What Can I Expect to Receive with a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
When you sue an employer after an accident, you will be looking for a settlement. This will be on top of whatever benefits you receive, which go to living expenses as well as medical expenses. You must have an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney helping you with this so that you get the best outcome for your circumstances. Do not try to do this alone.
You can choose to request a lump sum amount or to receive installments for your settlement award. Your settlement is determined by the severity of your injury, the location, and the type of injury. During the time you are receiving treatment, here are the things you collect which will be presented during your case.
- Billing statements,
- Medical records,
- Accident reports, and
- Witness statements.
The settlement is calculated on the following information:
- Bodily Impairment (percentage paid per injury to any part of the body, including multiple parts, based on the workers compensation settlement calculator),
- Comparison (per Arizona laws on how long recovery will take, based on body part),
- Wage Amount (calculation of employee’s wage and body part injury fees),
- Future Medical Expenses (established from current billed amounts), and
- Legal Fees.
Get Help Fast!
Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 602-346-9009.