Visitor Question

Can I sue my former employer?

Submitted By: Artie (Port Wentworth, Georgia)

During the time of the incident I was employed by Coastal Logistics Group out of Garden City, GA as a crate shop employee. We fabricated crates that were used to ship equipment through and in and out of the country. While working in the crate shop, we would receive the measurements for the ordered crate and cut, built, and sometimes fabricate the crate.

On the said day we built 6 crates and prepared them to be loaded into a container to be taken to the ports. The measurement ended up being incorrect, which happened frequently, and would not fit into the container. It was time for the containers to be in the ports soon so my boss decided to bypass redoing the crates and instead take a 1/2 inch off to make them fit.

The problem with that plan is that we use 1½ inch nails to seal down the tops. Some of us had to grab ladders and some of us were in forklifts with manbaskets with buzz saws and extension cords. We were instructed to cut through wood and nails. While doing this I was struct by debris in the face and began to bleed. What I thought was just something hitting me causing a scratch later turned out to be more troublesome.

A year later I started no notice a lump form where the scar was. I let it go because I had a beard and figured maybe I had a damaged hair follicle. Months later I started to notice it had grown larger and you could see it through my beard. I went to the doctor and he told me I had a sebaceous cyst and scheduled an appointment to drain it.

While waiting for my appointment I went to the dentist and through x-rays learned there was a piece of metal stuck in my cheek. My body was trying to heal around it so there was a ton of scar tissue around the metal that required me to have a huge chunk cut out of my skin and a lot of stitches and pain.

I no longer work for the company where it happened, but my injury occurred while employed for them and now I have a permanent facial scar and had to miss work. Can I sue them for this?

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 Artie,

You do not have to sue your former employer. Your injury occurred during the time you worked for Coastal Logistics Group. As a result, you qualify for workers compensation benefits.

The problem you may face is the Notice of Injury requirement. According to the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation, “You (an employee) should report any accident occurring on the job to your employer (boss), foreman, or supervisor) immediately. If you wait longer than 30 days, you may lose your benefits.”

However, in many cases the requirement can be extended. This normally occurs if the worker’s injuries were such that s/he could not timely report the accident, or the injury was not able to be discovered until a later date. You fall under the latter category.

Download and complete the Georgia Workers Compensation Notice of Claim Form WC-14

Once completed, hand deliver it to your former employer. Explain how you were injured while employed with the company and that you only recently discovered the injury. Your employer should then submit his Employers First Report of Injury of Occupational Disease Form WC-1 to the State Board.

Hopefully at the time your were injured you reported the incident to your supervisor or to your employer. If not, in light of the recent discovery of your injuries, that should not be a barrier.

In the event your former employer chooses not to cooperate, you can contact the State Board of Workers Compensation directly at:

270 Peachtree St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Ph#: 404-656-3818

Finally, you can always contact several workers compensation attorneys in your area. Fortunately, most workers comp attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. After speaking with the attorneys you should have a better idea of the strength of your claim, the time it may take to conclude it, and its probable outcome.

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: October 19, 2017

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