The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is in charge of enforcing safety regulations in the workplace. Most of the time, employers do their best to live up to their obligations, but there are times when an employer is negligent — even willfully so.
If your employer’s OSHA violation led to your serious workplace injury, how does that affect you? It may be time to consider a lawsuit outside of workers’ compensation.
Workers’ comp is generally designed to make the process of obtaining treatment and other benefits easier for injured workers and keep cases out of court. You generally can’t decide to pursue a lawsuit instead of workers’ comp.
There are times, however, when employers are not immune from personal injury lawsuits — and a lawsuit outside of the workers’ comp system does have its benefits. Although not an easy road to take, a civil lawsuit can provide you and your family with vastly greater financial benefits — which you may need if your injuries are severe.
If your employer willfully ignored OSHA safety codes and knowingly put you in harm’s way, that may be enough to get the courts to allow a civil claim outside of (or in addition to) your ordinary workers’ comp claim. An OSHA violation isn’t necessarily absolute proof that your employer intentionally harmed you, but it is something that the court may consider.
Workers’ compensation claims can be difficult to navigate — and knowing whether or not you have rights outside of the system can be even harder. The wise course of action is to take your suspicions to an attorney and find out more about your rights.