Did you know that you can hold your employer responsible for an act of negligence in employment? Employer negligence is an area of law that deals with employers failing to provide a safe working environment to employees and respect their rights. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2020.
Types of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
Workplace injury refers to injuries related to an unsafe environment in the workplace, jobs that are related to repetitive or complex movements, and other sufferings that occur in relation to an employee’s job, including:
- Falls and Other Traumatic Injuries
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
- Chronic Exposure Conditions
- Psychological and Emotional Trauma
Workplace Hazards that Create an Unsafe Work Environment
All the injuries and illnesses mentioned above occur due to one or more of the workplace hazards mentioned below:
- Defective or Hazardous Equipment – tools, machinery, or poorly designed space, manufactured, assembled, or repaired.
- Hazardous Materials – toxic substances exposure like asbestos, causing mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other conditions.
- Repetitive Motion – actions that impair a person’s ability to perform their job.
- Motor Vehicle Mishaps – accidents caused by reckless drivers or by vehicle malfunctions.
- Insufficient Safety Guidelines – workplaces that fail to provide safety and security.
- Insufficient Training – lack of training necessary to foster a safe workplace.
- Reckless Co-Worker Conduct – employees harming fellow employees.
Here are nine steps you can take as a victim of employer negligence to build a strong claim against your employer:
1. Record The Incident
After experiencing a workplace injury or illness like asbestosis, you must record all impressions of the incident. Any evidence you gather at the workplace, such as the availability of asbestos fibers or contaminated insulation wallboards, may help with determining eligibility in court. Create a timeline of events before, during, and after your illness/injury, and take detailed notes. The more you remember and record, the easier it will be for you to prove how and when your injury happened at the workplace.
2. Apply For Workers’ Comp
When employees get sick or injured due to a work-related cause, they are eligible for workers’ compensation insurance or workman’s comp. It’s a benefit that covers employees’ backs in medical treatment, ongoing care, lost wages, funeral costs, disability benefits, and death benefits. You need to report your injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible to collect your workers’ compensation benefits. A workman’s comp paperwork also acts as crucial documentation when building a claim against your employer.
3. Get Necessary Medical Treatment
Alongside filing for worker’s compensation, it’s best to see a doctor to urgently get the medical treatment you deserve. Frequently, employees put off treating their illness or injury to strengthen their case against their employer, but they only end up hurting themselves even more. So do not delay acquiring the necessary medical treatment from a doctor of your choice to bring your health back in shape.
4. Maintain Treatment Records
If you plan to sue your employer for negligence for your work-related injury or illness, you must be able to prove your claim. Support your claim by providing enough evidence of your injury. You can do this by maintaining all records of your medical care and expenses to present to the court in a case of employer negligence. If you visit a psychological professional to help manage the emotional distress you faced due to the injury or illness, note your sessions and billing details.
5. Gather Relevant Documents
Support your side of the story by collecting documents that further signify the relevance of your workplace injury or illness. For example, sort through company policies, employee handbooks and guides, performance review folders, email exchanges, and other forms of workplace correspondence to find proof of your employer’s negligence claims. Alongside filing successful personal injury lawsuits, these documents will help you prove your entitlement to compensation from your employer.
6. Involve Workplace Witnesses
According to the BLS National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries 2020, the top causes of fatal workplace injuries and illnesses include vehicle crashes (37.3%), falls (17%), contact with dangerous equipment (15%), assault and violence (15%), exposure to toxic substances or harmful environments (14%), and fires and explosions (1.4%). Almost all of these cases involve more than one person, making the others witnesses to the incident. In addition, you can collect statements from coworkers and other witnesses to strengthen your case further.
7. Schedule Free Consultation
Hiring a lawyer to sue your employer for negligence before knowing whether you have a valid case or not is an additional expense on top of your sick leaves and medical bills. Instead, schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer to discuss your case, preferably one who represents injured workers. In addition, you can access various online resources to connect with lawyers providing free consultation sessions to benefit your case. During this consultation, the lawyer will initially assess your legal rights and confirm whether or not you must hire a lawyer to sue your employer.
8. File A Claim
After collecting the necessary evidence and assessing your case, you can hire an experienced lawyer to represent your case. A seasoned workplace injury attorney can help you file a claim to prove that your employer is at fault and secure just compensation for your illness or injury.
9. Follow-Up On Your Case
Filing a claim is just the beginning of a long process. To get yourself the best deal, you will have to follow up on your medical treatment, legal meetings, settlement offers, etc. You need to ensure active involvement in the entire process to do everything to get yourself the compensation and justice you deserve. Do not just rely on your lawyer to work your case well. Do your research on the matter to be well aware of the legal processes and ask your attorney the right questions to move your case forward.
An employee who suffers a job-related injury or illness is entitled to file a claim for compensation or attempt to seek justice. In most cases, employees are provided workers’ compensation benefits. However, when an employee is denied a claim for benefits, only then can they sue their employer for negligence—the steps mentioned above detail how you can file a negligence claim against your workplace management.
Experts recommend corporate management prioritize workplace safety and security and create a pleasant environment for employees to work in. It helps maximize employees’ loyalty to the organization and also allows the company steers clear of messy legal involvements and evaluations.