Visitor Question

Fell In an Uncovered Drainage Hole at Work…

Submitted By: Connie (Crest Hill, Illinois)

I fell in an open drainage hole because the cover/plate was not on the hole as it should be. This happened while I was working and I’m currently going to therapy for an injury to my shoulder as a result of the fall. My company rents the office space from an outside landlord.

My question is: Can I sue the owner of the building or my employer (or both) for the medical costs of my injury?

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.


Dear Connie,

If your employer has workers compensation insurance you can not sue her. You may though have a case against the building owner.

To have any chance of being successful in a claim against the building owner you will have to have some evidence it was the building owner’s responsibility to maintain the manhole cover.

If the building owner wasn’t responsible for its maintenance you will have to look to the city, county, or state to learn which entity is responsible for the maintenance of the manhole covers.

The important issue is your absolute legal right to sue a third party when there is sufficient evidence of that party’s negligence or responsibility for maintenance of such things as manhole covers.

Once you identify the responsible party you can proceed with your third party claim.

Remember, the reimbursement or compensation you may receive from workers compensation insurance should have no bearing on your third party claim. They are both separate claims. There is no “set-off”. Your settlement of one side of the case should have nothing to do with the other case.

Learn more here: Work Injuries and Third Party Lawsuits

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,


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