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irishs2k
 
To sue, or not to sue...work related / negligence

This will probably end up being a long post...I apologize in advance, just don't want to leave anything out.

I work for a manufacturing company, I'll call them ABC...in the office doing computer work, sales, etc. ABC is a privately owned company that has revenue of about 15 million a year and slowly growing. ABC also happens to be a very cheap company, and the higher ups cut corners whenever possible. Well in April 2009, the owner of ABC decided to cut some of the warehouse workers during the slow season. Shortly after that it got into the busy season, and I was told to go out and help the warehouse guys.

I had no problem helping out, though now I've been informed by a friend it was illegal for me to be out there. So I started helping the warehouse manager, who was using a fork lift. The forks were up in the air about 4 feet, and he told me to manually widen them so we could pick up a large crate. Well, when I pulled one of the forks towards me to widen them it fell off the lift and fell directly on my big toe. The forklift did not have the blockers installed which prevent this. I was rushed to the hospital and I ended up with a broken toe, and also has a deep cut under the toenail. I had to get my toenail removed, and after that I regularly got follow up check ups and X-Rays. This was all covered under workers comp and had no issues with that what so ever. The day I came back to work I noticed the blockers were now installed on the fork lift, and googles, hardhats, etc, were required to be worn by the warehouse workers.

After a few months one of the docs pretty much told me I was good to go, and didn't need to come back anymore. I requested another X-Ray to make sure it wasn't broken anymore, but the doc told me it was unnecessary. I reluctantly trusted his medical opinion and left it at that. So after that the toe would still hurt when I would walk extended distances, run, etc. I played in a golf tournament for work...and after walking on hills, bumps, etc it was killing me.

So I ended up requesting a follow up, and discovered the workers comp company closed my case. So after jumping through hoops with them on the phone, they said it was ok to go back to the doctor...well given I pay a $10 co pay ...Complete Bullshit. So after the doc looked at it, he determined I need to see a podiatrist (Foot Specialist). He pretty much guaranteed they're going to have to rip my toenail off again. And from the looks of it he said the cut under the toe may have not healed correctly.

So that's where I'm at now. and Here's the main reason I want to sue my company:

1) I'm not under the insurance to be legally working in the warehouse, but was forced to due to being short handed.

2) Fork blockers weren't on the fork lift which is pure negligence.

3) The more I think about it, the more I got pissed / frustrated about it. Due to the cheapness of the owner of ABC, and negligence of equipment safety in his warehouse...I'll have to deal with this for the rest of my life. And after research, broken toes never go back to 100% and I should expect arthritis, problems in the future. And probably forget about ever playing my favorite sport again, soccer.

4) I can barely run / do cardio which I enjoy doing and have to constantly cut my self short due to pain. And just to mention, gained about 15 lbs cause of this.

My friend who supposedly knows the law told me my case doesn't look good for the following reasons.

1) He says I have to have a witness who will say they witnessed someone in the company remove the fork lift blockers.

2) Workers compensation doesn't pay shit in cases.

3) Can't prove potential long term damage / suffering.

We argued about it, and basically I just think I'm just ready to sit down with a lawyer who has experience with this kind of thing. I did find some info on Workers Compensation on a local reputable lawyer's site which quotes:

"Because almost all employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance, workers who are injured at the job site are qualified to receive workers' compensation benefits to help cover the costs of lost wages and medical expenses. Although it is inevitable that accidents will happen, under law, an employer is still responsible for keeping the work environment safe for all staff members. Workers' compensation injuries can be caused by slipping and falling, chemical burns, faulty equipment, lenient safety regulations, or carelessness of fellow workers.

Labor Laws give you the ability to protect your rights and receive compensation if you have been hurt.

One of the reasons that it is important to contact a workers compensation attorney is that workers' compensation insurance companies have very little incentive to act in the employee's favor; when an injury is proven to have taken place, the insurance provider stands to lose money. The way they infer workers' compensation laws can be the difference between a denied claim and an injured employee being granted what they deserve. This means that you may not receive all the money that you legally deserve."

But anyway, that's about it...if you read all of this, you're awesome. If you or a friend have ever dealt with a situation like this and have any advice I'd greatly appreciate it. Or you have opinion on the matter, please pass it on. Thanks
Old 02-24-2010, 07:01 PM irishs2k is offline  
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wwilliam54
 
talk to a lawyer, you wont be able to get anything other than what workers comp provides.
In the US workers comp is legally the exclusive remedy.
i.e. the reason for the injury doesn't matter so much as long as you didnt do it on purpose. Because you wont get pain and suffering anyways.

What you CAN do is talk to a workers comp lawyer, they will give you the information to ask another doctor as to what the extent of the damage is. And find out if there is any more compensation needed. If it is a permanent, but not total disability, a lump sum is usually paid out.


for a little background, my wife blew a disk at work. We have been fighting for 2 years for them to recognize that a blown disk does not fucking=shoulder strain.... bastards. And we are winning.


FWIW if you have the money, go ahead and get another doctor to x-ray your foot and take a copy, as well as the radiologist report to your lawyer.


fake edit: if one lawyer doesnt take you case, keep trying. Don't give up till you ask every single one in town.

real edit: workers comp doctors are bigger whores than paris hilton. They will always get you out so they can get those sweet sweet kickbacks.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:00 PM wwilliam54 is offline  
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ceejamon
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Call a lawyer that handles this kind of thing. They can tell you whether you have a case pretty quickly and advise you how to proceed. I'm no expert but it sounds to me like you've got a pretty clear case: you were asked to do a job you had no training for, there was missing safety equipment, and the company should have never let you be out there to begin with.
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:36 AM ceejamon is offline  
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huxley
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This is one of the few 'legal' threads that I have seen that I would say you have a pretty damn good case. Almost all injury attorneys consult for free, call one of the commercials on TV if you want or just google 'work injury lawyer' and take your pick. Good luck, obviously they dont care about you so maybe this is a reason for them to.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:43 PM huxley is offline  
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look at it this way...it could have been a kid who wandered onto private property and fell into a swimming pool that was not properly covered or didn't have a fence around it, and then drowned. BIG lawsuit. there are laws within each state which the owner of the property must provide basic safety features so that anyone who enters, must be protected.

i think you might have a pretty good case.

and for 3) i wouldnt be so sure. you could present all kinds of cases and evidence supporting your claims
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:46 PM oleo is offline  
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wwilliam54
 
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Originally Posted by oleo View Post
look at it this way...it could have been a kid who wandered onto private property and fell into a swimming pool that was not properly covered or didn't have a fence around it, and then drowned. BIG lawsuit. there are laws within each state which the owner of the property must provide basic safety features so that anyone who enters, must be protected.

i think you might have a pretty good case.

and for 3) i wouldnt be so sure. you could present all kinds of cases and evidence supporting your claims

since he was an employee, that comparison isnt valid.
He is stuck with the shitty exclusive remedy laws.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:23 PM wwilliam54 is offline  
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irishs2k
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oleo View Post
look at it this way...it could have been a kid who wandered onto private property and fell into a swimming pool that was not properly covered or didn't have a fence around it, and then drowned. BIG lawsuit. there are laws within each state which the owner of the property must provide basic safety features so that anyone who enters, must be protected.

i think you might have a pretty good case.

and for 3) i wouldnt be so sure. you could present all kinds of cases and evidence supporting your claims

Exactly, this is what I'm thinking too. It's not the fact that I just broke my foot. It's the fact that the negligence of the company in regards to safety resulted in a broken toe that still after almost a year is not completely healed, and I have to deal with pain everyday. I understand for the most part how workers comp protects companies from getting sued. But is that really an excuse for them to be careless and negligent when it comes to safety?

And also, as the other member said...I wasn't trained to be out there, nor was I on the insurance to be out in the warehouse working. So this accident definitely didn't happen under "normal conditions." What would happen if I got OSHA (http://www.osha.gov/) involved with this? I'm sure my company would be fined big time....a lot of illegal things going on here.

Not to mention the owner of the company hasn't even asked me ONCE how my toe is doing. Kind of a slap in the face...anyway, thanks for the responses so far, I'm looking into lawyers and asking friends if they know anyone who would be good with this kind of thing, just figuring out exactly who to go to. Any more advice is greatly appreciated.
Old 02-25-2010, 05:18 PM irishs2k is offline  
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irishs2k
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwilliam54 View Post
talk to a lawyer, you wont be able to get anything other than what workers comp provides.
In the US workers comp is legally the exclusive remedy.
i.e. the reason for the injury doesn't matter so much as long as you didnt do it on purpose. Because you wont get pain and suffering anyways.

What you CAN do is talk to a workers comp lawyer, they will give you the information to ask another doctor as to what the extent of the damage is. And find out if there is any more compensation needed. If it is a permanent, but not total disability, a lump sum is usually paid out.


for a little background, my wife blew a disk at work. We have been fighting for 2 years for them to recognize that a blown disk does not fucking=shoulder strain.... bastards. And we are winning.


FWIW if you have the money, go ahead and get another doctor to x-ray your foot and take a copy, as well as the radiologist report to your lawyer.


fake edit: if one lawyer doesnt take you case, keep trying. Don't give up till you ask every single one in town.

real edit: workers comp doctors are bigger whores than paris hilton. They will always get you out so they can get those sweet sweet kickbacks.

Man...that sucks, sorry to hear they're giving you such a hard time. Thanks a lot for the advice, even if it's not what I want to hear. I can't believe companies could be protected after something like this, just doesn't seem right. I'm definitely going to be contacting a lawyer, just to get an opinion on the negligence and illegal-ness of it all and see if I should pursue anything.

I do have a question for you though, did your wife get hurt in a situation some what similar to mine? Was there negligence with safety equipment? And what do you think about the fact that I wasn't trained to be out in the warehouse, or on the insurance to be out there...yet they instructed me to go out and help? Is there any similarity with your wife's case and mine in regards to that?

I just find it so hard to believe under those 2 main points...that workers comp can harbor my company from getting sued...just seems completely asinine.
Old 02-25-2010, 05:58 PM irishs2k is offline  
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wwilliam54
 
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Originally Posted by irishs2k View Post
Man...that sucks, sorry to hear they're giving you such a hard time. Thanks a lot for the advice, even if it's not what I want to hear. I can't believe companies could be protected after something like this, just doesn't seem right. I'm definitely going to be contacting a lawyer, just to get an opinion on the negligence and illegal-ness of it all and see if I should pursue anything.

I do have a question for you though, did your wife get hurt in a situation some what similar to mine? Was there negligence with safety equipment? And what do you think about the fact that I wasn't trained to be out in the warehouse, or on the insurance to be out there...yet they instructed me to go out and help? Is there any similarity with your wife's case and mine in regards to that?

I just find it so hard to believe under those 2 main points...that workers comp can harbor my company from getting sued...just seems completely asinine.

no her case didn't have the same thing, but mine did.
Negligence isn't considered willful harm.

It is indeed asinine, and IMHO crooked as fuck, but the fact of the matter is that in nearly all cases exclusive remedy is a wall that CAN NOT be overcome.
The ONLY exception is in cases were the company willfully caused you harm. If you boss push the part on you, then you could sue.

Goddamn I wish willful negligence was considered the same as willful intent of harm.

edit: I guess I forgot my story.
I was a pizzaman, and got sent on a delivery to known security area. Several of us got robbed in the area prior, but my boss didn't give a fuck.
Still wasnt enough to overcome exclusive remedy.
http://www.genmay.com/showthread.php?t=813323
FWIW I quit that shit job shortly after
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Last edited by wwilliam54; 02-25-2010 at 10:08 PM.. Reason: \
Old 02-25-2010, 10:01 PM wwilliam54 is offline  
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Aseras
 
this is why if you get hurt at work, and you aren't dying you take yourself to the hospital and leave workers comp out of it if you want any ability to decide your medical fate.
Old 02-28-2010, 02:21 PM Aseras is offline  
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