Industrial worksites are hazardous places to work. If workers are not adhering to safety protocols and ensuring that they are working safely, accidents can happen that lead to serious injuries. When a worker suffers an injury during a workplace accident, an investigation should be launched into the cause of the accident so that it can be determined which party or parties are liable. Determining liability in a workplace accident can be complex. There are usually multiple parties that could be responsible or share in responsibility for causing the accident. Determining liability can only be done after a thorough investigation.
Potentially Liable Parties
While each accident is unique and subject to the facts of the particular incident, the following parties are generally investigated for liability.
OSHA guidelines mandate that employers provide workers with a reasonably safe workplace. Employers who do not meet those requirements can be held liable for any injuries that occur at the worksite.
Some of the obligations that employers have are as follows:
- Training employees in safe work practices
- Providing employees with protective equipment
- Keeping the workplace free of hazardous materials and objects that could injure employees
- Posting warning signs near dangerous equipment or hazardous areas
For example, if a worker is injured after falling off of a piece of scaffolding and the worker was not provided proper fall protection or fall prevention equipment, the employer could be held liable for the injuries suffered by the employee.
During the investigation, it may be found that the accident was caused by defective equipment. For example, a piece of machinery that malfunctions and causes injury to the worker operating the machinery. In the case of defective equipment, the manufacturer of the product could be held liable for the injuries suffered by the employee. In some cases, the seller of the equipment could potentially be liable if there was a misrepresentation of the quality or intended use of the product.
Sometimes when workers are injured on the job, they are partially responsible for the accident that caused the injury. For example, a worker who was injured while misusing a tool or because he or she failed to follow established safety procedures could share in liability for the accident.
However, even the injured worker was partially at fault for the accident, that does not preclude him or her from filing a lawsuit or worker’s compensation claim.
Most states have what is called “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence means that if multiple parties are responsible for the accident, they will each be responsible for covering their share of the damages to the injured worker. For example, if it is determined that the worker was 30% responsible for the accident, any compensation that is awarded to the worker will be reduced by 30%.
Why You Need a Worksite Injury Lawyer
If you were injured at work, the company will likely launch an investigation into the cause of the accident immediately. This is done with the oversight of a team of company lawyers that are looking for ways to absolve the company of any liability so that it will not have to compensate the injured worker. That is why it is extremely important that you consult with an experienced and aggressive worksite injury lawyer as soon as possible. By having a lawyer looking out for your best interests, you can help ensure that you are afforded all of your legal rights and are compensated fairly for your injuries.
At Arnold & Itkin, we have helped thousands of injured workers all across the United States recover compensation for their injuries. Contact our worksite injury lawyers today to learn how we can help you.