Workplace Accident Attorneys Serving Durham, NC
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Durham Workplace Accidents & Third-Party Liability
In many workplace accident cases, the legal remedy for victims is typically a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault insurance carried by most employers, which means injured workers can obtain benefits even if they, their co-workers, or their employer were at fault.
While workers’ compensation can be a vital lifeline for Durham victims, it has some limitations. For example, injured workers who seek benefits:
- Are typically required to obtain medical treatment from approved providers;
- May only recover a percentage of their lost wages;
- Cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
Though workers’ comp is the only available option after many workplace accidents, there are cases when injured workers or families may have the right to pursue legal action outside of the workers’ comp system. Typically, these cases involve the negligence of a third-party who is NOT your direct employer.
Examples of Third-Party Work Accident Lawsuits
In some workplace accident cases, it may be possible to hold a third-party responsible. This might be an equipment manufacturer, a supplier, an independent contractor, or even an employment agency liable for screening or hiring, especially in workplace violence situations.
A few examples of when workers may be able to pursue third-party claims include:
- Defective Products: Workers perform jobs using a variety of products, tools, machinery, and vehicles. When a defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed product causes harm to a worker, there may be grounds for a civil product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or retailer who made the product available to consumers and employers.
- Negligent Contractors: Many employers rely on contracted third parties to perform various tasks or services. This is common in construction, where many contractors and subcontractors can be present on a job site, but may also include contracted companies that handle distribution, maintenance, and other services. When third-party contractors cause preventable harm, victims may be able to pursue a negligence lawsuit to recover their damages.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: Whether a job requires workers to drive, load or unload cargo, or perform job duties near roads and motor vehicles, workers injured in auto accidents may have grounds for a third-party claim. These cases can involve wrecks caused by negligent motorists, delivery truck accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, and crashes involving other commercial vehicles and transportation operated by a person or entity who is not a worker’s employer.
- Premises Liability: Third-party liability may arise when workers are injured while performing jobs on property owned by someone who is not their employer. Workers who bring premises liability claims must prove a landowner’s negligence as the proximate cause of their injuries.
- Toxic Exposure: Some workers are exposed to harmful substances in the course of their work, and may suffer injuries and occupational illnesses as a result. Workers who sustain immediate injury or a latent illness after years of exposure may seek compensation by filing toxic torts against manufacturers and other negligent parties who caused or contributed to their exposure.
While North Carolina workers’ compensation laws prohibit employees from suing their own employer in many situations, there are some exceptions. However, these claims are generally limited to situations where:
- Employers do not carry workers’ compensation insurance (N.C. law requires employers with 3 or more employers to have workers’ comp coverage);
- Workers are harmed by an employer’s intentional acts (i.e. a direct physical assault); or
- An employer’s intentional conduct is “substantially certain” to cause injury or death. Often called Woodson Claims after a N.C. Supreme Court decision in the case of Woodson v. Rowland, these claims are rare, and must involve very egregious conduct.
Though our Durham work injury attorneys do not handle workers’ compensation claims, we can help injured workers and families explore their options for pursuing civil injury or wrongful death lawsuits against one or more third-party defendants. We can also collaborate with workers’ comp attorneys to address victims’ income and immediate medical expenses while we investigate and prepare their civil case.
Proven Trial Lawyers Fighting For Injured Workers & Families
Edwards Kirby is committed to representing hard-working people across North Carolina who have been injured in work-related accidents and other incidents at the workplace. We know what a difference fair compensation, beyond workers’ comp benefits, can have for an injured worker and their family, and we fight for the maximum financial recovery possible.
As our results show, our firm has a proven record in a range of complex cases, including those involving serious burn injuries, explosions, electrocution, construction equipment accidents, and other workplace incidents. Our workplace accident lawyers have also won the largest workplace violence jury verdict in U.S. history in a case involving multiple murders committed by a disgruntled employee in Asheville, North Carolina.
If you have questions about your rights and options after a workplace accident, you can reach a workplace injury lawyer at (919) 897-7662 or contact us online. Our team of workplace accident attorneys serve clients across Durham and North Carolina, and offer FREE and confidential case evaluations.
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Brain injuries suffered at birth, including cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accidents?
Many different types of injuries can occur in the workplace, making it crucial to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe work environment. Workplace injuries not only hurt employees and cause them to miss work, but they can also impact their co-workers and employers. Learn more about some of the more common types of work-related injuries below.
Slips and Falls
One-third of reported workplace accidents are slips and falls, and they account for many workers’ compensation claims. Slips and falls can cause neck and back injuries, broken bones, pulled muscles, and more. To avoid slip and fall accidents in the workplace, ensure all areas are well-lit and any wet or slippery surfaces have wet floor signage.
Collisions and Crashes
Collisions and crashes in the workplace usually involve forklifts and company vehicles. Accidents involving mobile machinery are not included in commercial vehicle insurance when the employee is on the clock. Claims resulting from these accidents can increase a company’s workers’ compensation insurance costs. To prevent this type of workplace injury, conduct regular drug testing, proper background checks on employee driving history, and allow employees who operate mobile machinery and company vehicles to take rest breaks.
Repetitive Stress and Overexertion
Repetitive movements without rest can lead to repetitive use or overexertion injuries. Repetitive use injuries are common in employees that regularly execute administrative, assembly, and other manufacturing tasks. Employees that constantly perform the same movements non-stop for an extended period are at risk for a repetitive use injury. To avoid repetitive use injuries and overexertion, set regular breaks and ensure employees have ergonomic workstations to ensure good posture and stature.
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Call 919-780-5400 or fill out our online form to request a free consultation. You won’t pay unless we win!