When It Looks Like a Co-Worker Caused Your Injuries

Posted May 16th, 2017 by .

Categories: Workers Compensation.

worker injury law offices of anthony carboneIt’s the type of accident that can happen anywhere.   In this case, a number of warehouse workers are unpacking merchandise.  A forklift driver enters the area with a pallet of boxes.  Unfortunately, the lift operator didn’t check to make sure the load was properly secured.   As a result, a heavy box falls and lands on another employee’s foot.   So, what happens when it looks like a coworker’s actions caused injuries?

In most cases, the former scenario would represent a workers’ compensation claim.  This is one of the reasons that your company pays for insurance.  Obviously, accidents happen.   Almost assuredly, your coworker didn’t set out to injure anyone.   We have written a series of articles on workers’ compensation benefits.   You can find details about what you can expect in the links that follow.

For starters, you will need to worry about medical treatment.  Next, is the issue of reimbursement for lost wages.  Lastly, you may be entitled to at least some portion of permanent disability.

This might surprise you.  In some instances, you may be able to make another type of case against the individual you thought was a co-worker.   And, in others, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits at all.

An Issue of Employment

First and foremost, your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier is generally primarily responsible for covering all work-related accidents.   This includes times when a co-employee didn’t take proper safety precautions.   Notwithstanding, this assumes that the other worker is actually employed by the same company.

Let’s use our example.  Warehouse employers are a perfect illustration of businesses that retain temporary staff.   Was the injured party actually employed by the warehouse?  Or, was he an agency worker?  How about the forklift operator?   Did the two individuals actually work for the same company?

Above all, it will be important for an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to investigate the claim as a whole.  For the most part, you cannot sue a co-worker for an on the job accident.  Notwithstanding, if you were injured because of the negligence of someone who worked for another company, you might have a separate cause of action.

Fights at Work

When an argument at work turns physical, it can mean devastating injuries.  Consequently, there may be a need for medical treatment and reimbursement of lost wages.   However, not all physical altercations between employees are considered compensable under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.  As a result, it might be important to determine the nature of the fight to see if it was work related.    For example, a battle between two employees over an adulterous relationship would not mean a compensation award.

Add to that the problem with horseplay.  Actually, the law addresses this issue.   According to NJSA 34:15-7.1, workers’ compensation benefits could be afforded to someone who was injured provided the “injured party did not instigate or take part in the horseplay.”

Contact Us

Were you injured at work by a co-employee?   Let the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone assist you in pursuing the proper type of claim.   Our experience and resources have helped a number of injured clients for almost three decades.  Contact us for assistance.

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