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When an injury goes beyond a workers' compensation claim

When you suffer an injury because of your own negligence, most people are okay with covering their own medical expenses. But when injuries are the result of someone else's negligence, sentiments are different. Victims often feel that they should not be responsible for covering their medical bills because it was not their own negligence that led to the accident in the first place.

The same is true when it comes to work-related injuries as well. If an employer is negligent or work conditions are particularly unsafe, a worker may want to file a claim for compensation. But can a worker's injuries ever go beyond a workers' compensation claim? Let's take a closer look at this important question.

In most states, including here in Ohio, the workers' compensation system protects employers from personal injury lawsuits levied by their employees for work-related injuries. Instead of recovering damages from their employer, an employee collects from workers' compensation. But did you know that there are exceptions to this rule?

Using a case out of Florida as an example, we will show our readers how it's possible for a work-related injury to go beyond a workers' compensation claim. In the case, a construction worker died as a direct result of his employer's negligence. The state's trial court deemed his death to have been an intentional tort exemption and allowed the deceased construction worker's family to file a claim against the man's employer.

But what is intentional tort?

When applied to a workplace setting, a case for intentional tort would be when a wrongful act results in an injury or when an injury is caused intentionally by an employer. In the Florida case, the employer ignored appropriate curing times and told workers to proceed even though the work environment was potentially unsafe. This caused a steel beam to strike and kill the construction worker. The trial court felt that this fatal injury went beyond a workers' compensation claim, thus allowing the personal injury lawsuit against the man's employer.

Knowing if your own claim constitutes as an intentional tort exception can be difficult to assess without legal counsel and could mean missing out on the compensation you deserve. This is why it's so important to contact a skilled lawyer and get their help instead of taking on the case by yourself.

Sources: Courthouse News Service, "Family Will Not Collect $2.4M for Worker's Death," Jeff D. Gorman, Oct. 3, 2014

codes.ohio.gov, "Title XXVII, Chapter 2745: Employment Intentional Tort," Accessed Oct. 6, 2014

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The Bainbridge Firm, LLC

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