On-the-job injuries happen every single day. No matter how safe a job seems, there is always a chance an injury to an employee could occur. Realizing this, almost every state has workers’ compensation statutes. These statutes compensate employees for on-the-job injuries without regard to the employer’s fault or to the employee’s.
Is Workers’ Compensation The Exclusive Remedy For Work Injuries?
Generally, an employee must go through workers’ compensation remedy in order to receive payment for their injury. Even if an employer is clearly negligent, like permitting unsafe conditions, in violation of occupational health and safety laws) or if the employee is completely blameless, the workers’ compensation statute provides the employee’s sole remedy. Many attorneys try to find a way around the workers’ compensation statute because an employee’s claim is often for less than it would be otherwise.
What Happens If An Employer Intentionally Violates Safety Violations?
Since workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for injuries suffered at work, the majority of states limit workers’ compensation ruling to non-intentional wrongs by the employer. The main legal question for a court is whether an employer knows violation of a safety regulation can be an intentional tort. Some cases have allowed a lawsuit where the employer has willfully disregarded safety regulations, even if the employer didn’t want to hurt the worker, but instead tried to save money. However, the majority of courts argue that an employer’s failure to observe safety regulations, or to repair equipment, doesn’t transform the wrongdoing into an intentional act. The only true way to get around Workers’ Compensation statutes is if the employer knew that injury was “substantially certain” to occur.
What do you think? If an employer tries to save money by cutting safety corners, should an employee be able to sue for maximum damages? Should a workers’ compensation statute cover most employee injuries?
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