My Injury Happened at Work. How Do I Know If I Have a Case Against My Employer?


My Injury Happened at Work. How Do I Know If I Have a Case Against My Employer?

Workers compensation exists to protect employees when they are injured during the course of their job duties. Still, it can sometimes be confusing to know whether or not you have a case against your employer, even if the injury happened at work. Ambiguities in the law do exist, and there are certain cases where your employer might actually win the case if you tried to sue them. While each case is individual and you’ll have to discuss it with your workers compensation attorney to know for sure, if you can answer “no” to the following questions, you’re probably well within your rights to bring a case against your employer.

Were You Supposed to Be Working?

Even if you’re employed at a company, you can still lose a workers compensation case if you were working outside of prescribed hours. Let’s say you’re a contractor and you went to work on a site when the site was technically shut down. That could mean you came earlier than the job site officially opened or you stayed past the official close of day to finish something up. If you were injured during those “off” hours, you might have a tougher time making a case.

Were You Breaking Any Rules?

If the employee manual expressly forbids the behavior you were engaged in when you were injured, you might have trouble bringing a workers compensation case against your employer. For instance, if you’re a welder and your manual expressly forbids working without an eye shield, if you got injured when you weren’t wearing one, they could come back and say that you were breaking company rules. Since those rules exist to protect you and you chose to ignore them, it might be harder to win that case.

Were You Defying Common Sense?

In most areas of law there is what’s called a “reasonable person” standard. It generally asks: “If a reasonable person was faced with the situation you were in, would they have behaved in the way that you did?” In other words, were you using common sense? If you were changing a lightbulb when the injury happened, and you were wearing six-inch heels on a rickety ladder and standing on the top rung, you might have a harder time winning that case since an argument could be made that you weren’t acting as a “reasonable person” would.

Was Your Behavior Dangerous or Negligent?

This is similar to the common sense rule, but it takes it a step further. If you were behaving in a dangerous or negligent manner when you were injured, your employer might be off the hook, and you might have a harder time making your case. For instance, if you injured your hand because you were reaching into the cracks of machinery to reach something, that could be considered a dangerous or negligent thing to do. If you tripped on something, fell, and hurt your ankle but you were also running in heels when it happened, your employer could say you were acting in a negligent manner. In other words, were you doing something that is objectively dangerous and shows negligence for your safety and the safety of others? If so, you’re going to have a tougher time making the case against your employer for workers compensation claims.

If none of these apply to you, you’re probably more than able to file and win a workers compensation claim. However, each case is individual and unique, and your workers compensation attorney will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case. If you do, your attorney will work with you to craft the best possible defense to ensure you obtain the most beneficial outcome possible. Consult with a workers compensation attorney today and make sure you go to court with the law on your side.


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