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Who Can Be Held Liable for Your Winston-Salem Work Injury?

Although the workers’ compensation system handles most work injury cases on its own, there are several situations in which larger settlements or lawsuits are necessary. If an employer, manufacturer, or third party can be held responsible for your accident, you may be able to sue for damages. Read on to find out who you can file a lawsuit against for a Winston-Salem work injury with information provided by Lewis & Keller’s workers’ comp experts.

Employer Liability

Employers have a duty to protect their workers, but there are times when workers are exploited and endangered instead. In North Carolina, injured workers go through the workers’ compensation system to obtain benefits, typically avoiding a lawsuit altogether. 

However, there are a limited number of situations in which an employer may be sued if they are guilty of directly endangering someone, coercing them into working in an unsafe environment, or neglecting their duties as an employer. 

On the other hand, some employers lack workers’ compensation insurance altogether and will therefore be liable for damages directly.

A North Carolina factory worker checks equipment for safety standards.Manufacturer Liability

Many of the supplies and pieces of equipment used in workplaces are manufactured by other companies which have their own set of standards and security measures to keep these products from causing harm. The reality of manufacturing, though, is that a dangerous product will occasionally find its way into the world and injure consumers. When this happens, the manufacturer can be held responsible.

Two types of manufacturer liability cases are particularly common in workers’ compensation: defective equipment cases and toxic substance cases. 

A defective equipment case comes about when workers are injured by machines and tools they use routinely that do not perform the way they should. Pedals, gears, and levers may get stuck or machines might overheat and explode, for example. This, in turn, leads to accidents that could have otherwise been avoided. 

Other times, hazardous chemicals that workers use cause burns or poisoning, with long-term exposure possibly leading to cancer or other illnesses. These cases demonstrate what is known as a “toxic tort.”

Third-Party Liability

So, who would be held liable if a repairman was hit by another driver while on their way to answer a house call? Is it the company the repairman works for or the other driver? In some cases, the answer is “both!” 

When you are injured by a party unrelated to your employer while on the clock and performing your duties, this is a work injury problem as much as it is a personal injury problem. In the situation described above, the repairman would be eligible to sue the other driver for damages from the wreck and file a claim for being injured on the job.

A gavel rests on the desk of an experienced North Carolina work injury attorney.Proving Liability

While work injury cases are usually addressed by workers’ compensation benefits, there are a variety of situations in which a lawsuit may be filed against an employer, a product manufacturer, or a third party. 

In all of these cases, there is a burden of proof on the injured employee to prove the fault of the person or entity they are suing. If you are considering a lawsuit for your work-related accident, your North Carolina work injury attorney at Lewis & Keller will collect the evidence necessary to prove fault, file a lawsuit on your behalf, and handle the negotiation process themselves.

We are available 24/7 to review your case for free and provide you with our expert assessment of your options. Don’t let your case fall through by trying to handle it all on your own — contact the champions for every client at Lewis & Keller!