Can I Sue My Employer for Negligence Leading to My Work Accident?
The reception of workers’ compensation benefits is not dependent on fault. An injured employee does not need to blame another person to qualify for benefits. In addition to the absence of “fault” under the workers’ compensation system, employees cannot sue their place of work even if their employer’s negligence caused their injuries. There is an exception to this rule, in cases of gross negligence. Gross negligence includes any instance of negligence that is considered especially careless or malicious.
Safety code violations are an example of significant negligence, but can an injured employee sue their employer in these instances?
Examples of Safety Code Violations
A safety code violation in the workplace may include a breach of any rule that was implemented for the purpose of protecting employees from injury. There are universal safety codes, such as those created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but every business is subject to additional rules outlined in state laws or company policies.
A safety code violation committed by an employer may include:
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Violating hours of service regulations
- Not completing the required maintenance checks
- Not repairing a workplace
- Failure to test for chemical hazards
- Exceeding heat levels in the workplace
- Exceeding sound levels in the workplace
Reporting the Workplace Safety Violation
As the victim of an accident caused by a safety code violation, you may feel compelled to report it. Safety code violations can be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Concerned employees can report any hazard they believe may be an OSHA violation — you do not have to provide any evidence of the hazard’s contradiction with a specific violation.
If your employer is committing a violation of a state or local law, you may be able to report that violation to your state’s labor department. Company safety code violations may be reported to a business’s corporate office, if applicable.
Your Right to Compensation for Your Employer's Negligence
As a work injury victim, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Your ability to pursue additional legal action based on a gross negligence claim will depend on the details of your case. You may or may not be eligible for an unsafe work environment lawsuit.
The attorneys of McHargue & Jones, LLC can help protect your rights following a work injury. If you were injured at your job due to a safety code violation and need legal advice, contact us. We can discuss the benefits you may be entitled to, further action you can take beyond your workers’ compensation claim, and your rights if faced with employer retaliation.