Visitor Question

Fell 16 feet due to poor equipment maintenance?

Submitted By: Jeffery (Rocksprings, WY)

I was working on ladder jacks. The one on my boss’s side came loose and we both fell approximately 16ft. He shattered his heel bone and I hurt my back and hip.

I was wondering, considering I am currently on workers’ compensation, if I still have a good lawsuit against the company I was working for due to negligence of maintaining the equipment? Is there anything I can do to file a case against them? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Jeffery,

Unfortunately Wyoming state law prohibits injured workers from pursuing negligence claims against their employers. These statutes were enacted as a “trade-off” for workers and employers.

Under workers’ compensation laws, injured workers do not have to prove their employers were negligent in order for the injured workers to receive medical care, out-of-pocket expenses, and a portion of lost wages. This means today, all an injured worker has to do is show he or she was injured on the job. If so, there is no question about coverage. It’s automatic.

Without workers’ compensation laws, an injured worker wouldn’t be able to seek medical and other benefits until he or she proved the employer was negligent. This means if an employer decided to fight the worker’s negligence claim, the worker would have to hire an attorney to fight the case. This could be financially impossible for many workers.

If your employer was in fact negligent in maintaining the equipment, in order to have a case you’d have to prove his negligence rose to a level of “gross negligence” or “wanton disregard for worker safety.” This is a very high burden of proof. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t hurt to speak with a personal injury attorney to review the merits of your case. Most offer an initial consultation free of charge.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: January 30, 2014

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