Under Georgia law, Atlanta workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance that their employers must buy and workers are not allowed to sue employers. The big benefit of workers’ comp is that it provides coverage for work injury losses even in instances where employers are not negligent. It should cover any workplace injuries, so no one who gets hurt at work has unpaid medical bills or is left entirely without income when injuries make work impossible.
Although the protections provided by workers’ compensation are very important,workers’ comp benefits do not provide 100 percent full coverage for all economic losses and all non-financial losses. An injured worker, for example, can’t get pain and suffering compensation through a workers’ comp claim, and is only going to get partial lost wages when a disability affects work. There are also no punitive damages paid.
Because of these restrictions, workers who get hurt may wish to consider exploring whether it is possible to file a civil lawsuit against any non-employers after they are harmed while performing work tasks.
Atlanta Workers May Sometimes Be Able to Sue After a Workplace Injury
A lawsuit can be filed only after certain work injuries, because claims are possible only when there is a non-employer to hold accountable. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer will help employees to evaluate all of the circumstances surrounding their injuries to determine if a civil lawsuit is possible. Being able to file a personal injury lawsuit is very beneficial to injured workers because they can receive much broader compensation in most cases.
A recent story published by Safety News Alert demonstrated how extensive the compensation can be when an injured worker is able to file a personal injury lawsuit. In this particular instance, a man was performing work during the teardown of the 2012 International Manufacturing Technology Show. As he was doing his job, a forklift rolled over him and crushed his foot.
Doctors attempted to save the foot, but it was not possible to do so and amputation became necessary. The injured worker had to have skin grafts from his thigh after the amputation. Because of his injuries, it was expected that he would lose his position with the national guard.
The forklift that drove over his foot was operated by an unlicensed operator. There was also no spotter present who could have prevented the incident from occurring. Global Experience Specialists (GES), the company that had set up the show, had arranged to have the forklift present and driven by someone who was not properly qualified to do so.
The injured man filed a lawsuit against GES in civil court to recover compensation for losses. This was possible because GES was not the one who employed him, even though he was working for his own employer at the time of the incident.
The jury found that GES was negligent in the role it had played in contributing to the injury. As a result, the jury awarded the man $15 million in damages. This included $12.2 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. The recovery was far greater in this case than the value of filing a workers’ comp claim.
Injured victims can typically both sue and make a workers’ comp claim under appropriate circumstances, and should speak with an attorney about whether third party negligence was a factor in their injury.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.