North Carolina State Worker Injured on the Job

According to a recent news report from Eyewitness News 11, a state worker is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries as result of a serious on-the-job accident. Witnesses say employee was working at the State Archives in Raleigh setting up a scissor lift at the time of his accident.

workers-01-566067-m.jpgWitnesses say two employees were working to repair an outside light using a scissor lift when the left fell over crushing one of the employees. Fortunately, there were already police officers working at the location, and they were able to provide immediate assistance to the injured employee. Police officers performed CPR until EMTs arrived and transported him to a local level-one trauma center.

A spokesperson for the NC Department of Administration says two maintenance employees were working on an exterior light when a scissor lift toppled over, injuring one of the workers. North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently conducting an investigation into how this was able to happen, and they have net yet released any conclusions.

As our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys understand, cases involving possible third party defendants can become very complex. First, is necessary to understand how the workers’ compensation system works. The system was designed as a compromise between the needs of employers to avoid unexpected litigation when employees are injured and the needs of employees to have quicker access to money when they are injured with medical bills and missing wages from lost work.

As a benefit to injured workers’, employees do not need to prove any negligence on behalf of their employer. It is only necessary to establish they are employees and the injury or illness causing a disability was work-related. This is helpful when an accident truly is an accident and not the result of negligent conduct, as if often the case.

However, under workers’ compensation, employees’ financial recovery is limited to payment for medical bills, future medical expenses, income from lost wages, and, in the case a fatal work accident, payment for funeral expense and future unpaid earnings.
In a civil lawsuit, an employee can also recover for pain and suffering and other types of special damages. Under the exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation, if an employee is eligible to file for workers’ compensation, he or she cannot also file a civil personal injury lawsuit. This is the benefit to the employer, who will have to pay a premium to a workers’ compensation insurance company, but will not have to pay damages in a civil case.

When a third party is also negligent, injured employee is allowed to file a civil suit against that party but must reimburse workers’ compensation insurance company for any benefits paid, so employee is not able to double recover for his or her injuries. In the case of an industrial accident where a piece of equipment injures an employee, there is always a possibility the equipment was defectively designed or defectively serviced by a party other than employer. In these cases, employee may be able to file a civil action against alleged at-fault party, subject to the reimbursement requirement.

If you have been injured at work in Charlotte, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Worker hurt in accident at North Carolina archives building , Apr. 13, 2015, ABC News

More Blog Entries
Shubert v. Macy’s West, Inc. – Failure to Adhere to Care Plan, March 19, 2015, Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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