Airline Not Following Baggage Handling Policy Causes Back Injury...
(Parker, CO, USA )
I work for a major US airline in ground operation. I loaded bags for 17 years. It is company policy to have 2 employees move anything over 70 lbs. After rounds of layoffs the airline placed only one handler at each flight (before you had a team of two handlers).
Even though the policy is still in place, they force you to lift more than 70 lbs. You can't call for someone to help - there isn't anyone to call. Additionally, it is heavily frowned upon if you do try to get help.
I was injured as a result of the airline not enforcing their own policy, not to mention them going against the terms of their workers comp policy agreement that no one lifts more than 70lbs. This is is why I had to have back surgery and can't work (5 years now).
I did get a very small amount from workers comp. I have lost my house, my cars, my 401k, my wife's 401k and kids college 529 accounts by not being able to work. So we settled with workers comp, but the airline is still not following their policy - that is why I am where I am - and they should have to pay for it. They need to stop before more people get hurt.
I want to sue the airline directly for everything I have lost and for my depression! Then I would like to re-open my case with workers comp as I am now depressed as a result of not being able to contribute to my family financially. Do I have a valid case? What can I do about this situation?
I appreciate your consideration.
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ANSWER for "Airline Not Following Baggage Handling Policy Causes Back Injury...":
Don (Parker, CO, USA ):
Unfortunately it is too late to reopen your workmans compensation case. Once the final settlement was made you signed a release of liability for the airline and the insurance company. You may not remember doing so, but you most assuredly did. Otherwise you would not have received the settlement.
Often with workmans compensation and other personal injury insurance settlements there are a lot of documents which the injured party must sign before the funds are released. If you don’t remember signing the release go back and look at all the papers you received at or about the time of the settlement. Look in the fine print.
Regrettably you will have a similar problem with the airline. Workmans compensation statutes do not permit an injured party to sue their employer if that employer is covered by workmans compensation insurance.
Even if you were otherwise able to sue the airline it would be too late. Colorado, like almost all of the states, has a 2 year Statute of Limitations on personal injury lawsuits. That means you had 2 years from the date of your injury to file suit. Past that date and you lose your right to sue.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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