Last month, a state court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a workplace accident that is of interest to those considering bringing an Indiana personal injury lawsuit, especially for incidents that occurred in the workplace. The case presented the court with the opportunity to decide if a company should be liable for injuries to an independent contractor that occurred when the independent contractor stepped in a puddle of hazardous chemicals. Ultimately, the court determined that the contractor was fully warned about the risks involved with working at the facility and that the company successfully discharged its duty to the contractor.
Workplace Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Claims
As a preliminary matter, it is important to understand the difference between personal injury cases occurring at a job site and workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation claims are technically brought against an employer, and, when appropriate, they often are the sole remedy available to the injured employee. However, when an employee’s injury is due to the negligence of a third party, the employee may have an additional claim for compensation through an Indiana personal injury lawsuit against that third party.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was employed by an independent contractor that performed insulation work. The defendant employed the company for which the plaintiff worked to perform insulation work on chemical tanks. The defendant company required the independent contractors to complete specialized safety training prior to beginning work.
While on the job site, the plaintiff was climbing down a ladder when he stepped in a puddle he initially thought to be water. The substance splashed on his bare leg. As it turns out, it was a hazardous chemical, and the plaintiff later sustained serious chemical burns. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant company, claiming that it was negligent in allowing the puddle to form.
The court began by discussing the duty that the defendant company owed to the plaintiff. Indeed, the court determined that the defendant did owe the plaintiff a duty to disclose material risks that may arise while working at the defendant’s facility. However, the court concluded that the defendant company successfully warned the plaintiff about the risks. Specifically, the court relied on the safety training the defendant required all independent contractors to complete, as well as the visible signs warning contractors that hazardous chemicals were present on the site. As a result, the plaintiff will not be permitted to seek compensation from the company. Importantly, however, the plaintiff may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Workplace Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana workplace accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the facts surrounding the accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury case against a third party, potentially increasing the amount of damages you are entitled to receive. The skilled Indiana personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have extensive experience handling workplace accident claims, both in personal injury cases as well as in workers’ compensation cases. Call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
Case Claiming Toxic Exposure to MDI Dismissed for Failure to Retain Expert on Causation, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2017
How Indiana’s Dram Shop Law Can Help Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, August 8, 2017