If you have been struck by an object or a piece of equipment at work and it caused you bodily injury, you are probably stressed and in pain. No one should ever have to sustain injuries at their place of employment. However, there is help available when it does happen, and you may be eligible for compensation. This article will walk you through these incidents, workers’ compensation insurance, and other avenues of possible compensation via litigation. Keep reading to learn your options and rights.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Do?
When injured at work due to being struck, the first line of business is usually to obtain workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation provides benefits if you have a work-related injury or illness. Sometimes called workers’ comp or workman’s comp insurance, this coverage can help you cover your work-related medical expenses. It can also cover lost wages during the time you are out. Most states require any company with employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Between 1911 and 1948, every state in the country passed some form of workers’ compensation legislation. Regulations vary from state to state, but every state offers some form of worker’s compensation.
Employees can receive workers’ compensation insurance if they are injured at work, no matter who is at fault. It allows the employee to receive care and treatment for their injury and return to work without significant financial loss or stress. It’s important to understand that these benefits can vary. The benefits typically depend on the nature of the injury, your state’s requirements, and your employer’s specific policy guidelines. Many employees injured at work may have grounds to pursue a civil suit against a third party if that third party’s negligence caused the injury. This third-party suit provides additional compensation on top of the compensation and coverages of workers’ compensation. Determining liability in these cases is not always easy, but an experienced law firm can help.
What Does it Mean to Be ‘Struck By’ an Object at Work?
Typically, when a worker is ‘struck by’ an object at work, the cause of the incident is unintentional. However, these unintentional accidents can be caused by employees or employers not following job-site safety rules, which result in unsafe instances such as getting struck by an object. You might be shocked to find out that being struck by an object at work is one of the leading causes of construction-related deaths. In these instances, employees are usually struck by:
- Heavy equipment and vehicles, like cranes and trucks
- Falling or flying objects, like tools and flying particles
- Concrete or masonry walls that are under construction
Common Types of Injuries Resulting from Being Struck at Work
Employees can find themselves in various dangerous situations when it comes to being struck by an object or heavy machinery at work. Employees can be hit by, struck against, or even caught in machinery, leading to severe injuries. It’s an employer’s responsibility to shield workers from being struck by vehicles and objects while they are on the job. These hazards exist on many job sites, but there are ways to stop or reduce injuries from these hazards. These safeguards are called control measures; employers must ensure that control measures are in place to ensure their employee’s safety. When control measures are not followed, or when human error takes the wheel, injuries occur. The most common types of injuries from being struck by an object or equipment are:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken shoulders
- Eye injuries
- Foot injuries
- Deep cuts and lacerations
Negligence Can Result in Being Struck by an Object
Negligence on job sites is a common way that employees can be struck and injured at work. Many employers and employees may become complacent with safety measures or simply don’t prioritize them. When this happens, negligence creates incidents and injuries that could have easily been avoided. Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for their workers and site visitors. They must take all reasonable measures to minimize the risk of a construction site injury. These measures include things like:
- Signage and barriers should be placed in areas that may be prone to falling objects.
- Employers are responsible for training workers on safety procedures, including securing any loose tools and examining equipment.
- Employers should provide and teach their staff how to utilize safety devices like debris nets, shore and brace structures, tool guards, toe boards, and catch platforms.
When an employer fails to implement these safety measures, it can cause severe, construction-related injuries.
Struck By an Object at Work? You’re Entitled to Compensation
If you are struck by an object at work resulting in an injury, many different third parties may be seen as liable in an intentional tort case. Most commonly, the liability falls on the people or entities responsible for keeping the victim safe, such as an employer, company, or another authoritative figure. These parties can be sued in an intentional tort case to get you the compensation that you deserve. Injured people can also pursue a third-party liability claim to obtain compensation. These parties are people or entities who may have made mistakes or acted negligently or who are found facilitating or directly causing on-site injuries to occur. These parties may include:
- General contractors
- Site owners
- Equipment manufacturers
In an intentional tort case, third parties involved may be found guilty of negligence for many things. A third party may be found guilty of negligence in an intentional tort case for the following reasons:
- Failure to provide security and protect the victim
- Failure to provide proper safety equipment
- Failure to properly investigate an incident
- Negligent hiring and/or supervision
How Are Injured Workers Compensated in a Successful Third-Party Claim?
In a successful third-party lawsuit, the injured employee files a claim against the third party (someone other than an employer) liable for a workplace accident or injury. Several potential third parties might be held responsible for injuries that occur on the job site or while working on multi-employer construction projects. The compensation provided upon winning a case varies based on your unique situation. Some typical outcomes of successful third-party claims are:
- To provide coverage for additional damages that workers’ compensation does not cover, including, but not limited to, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages.
- To provide an injured worker with higher compensation for permanent scarring or disfigurement and other losses not fully covered by workers’ compensation.
In short, a third-party lawsuit helps the injured employee to recover compensation beyond what workers’ compensation offers. The third-party legal case requires involved third parties to take their fair share of liability for their involvement in an employee’s injuries.
How to Get Started on a Third-Party Lawsuit for Your Workplace Injury?
If you have been struck by an object or machinery at work and sustained an injury, you may be entitled to further compensation outside of your worker’s compensation insurance. At Trammell Piazza, we provide you with the expertise and knowledge of a large law firm yet the personalized attention you’d expect from a small law firm.
We genuinely believe that the best way to win your case is by getting to know you as a client and a person. We want to understand how your life has been affected so we can best help you. We are committed to getting you what you deserve. If you’re ready to take the next steps in a third-party lawsuit book a free consultation.