Steven Gorski unwittingly created a legal mess after he was injured on the job in 2006. The construction worker was on site at a construction project in Stockton, CA when a crane operator hit him, causing severe injuries. Mr. Gorski sued the crane operator, Maxim Crane Works, for damages and was awarded a settlement of $900,000 by the company. However, Maxim felt that it shouldn’t have to pay since Gorski was actually an employee of Tilden Construction, here in California.
Maxim sued Tilden, claiming that Tilden was ultimately responsible for the damages suffered by Gorski and should be made to pay the cost of the settlement. However, this past August the Third Appellate Court of Appeals for the State of California ruled against Maxim and also required it to pay attorney fees to Tilden Construction.
Under California and federal law, most employees are barred from suing their employers when they are injured on the job. The reasoning is that since all employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance for all workplace related injuries, regardless of fault, the employer should also be protected from lawsuits.
However, there are some important exceptions. If you are injured on the job by a third party (for example, if your company hires a contract cleaning crew and the cleaning crew causes you to slip and fall at work), you are entitled to sue that third party. In addition, if your employer forces you to work in unsafe conditions, you may be able to sue the employer directly, even if it carries workers compensation insurance.
If you or a loved one has been injured at work and a third party is responsible, you may be entitled to recover damages. The company being sued has attorneys working hard on their side, trying to claim that the injury was not their fault. Therefore, it is imperative that you work with an experienced employment and personal injury law attorney to recoup your damages and move on with your life.