Visitor Question

Fell while volunteer working for a privately owned company…

Submitted By: Lisa (Maine)

In the winter of 2014 I helped shovel snow for my ex-boyfriend’s company. While working (volunteering), I fell down some old narrow stairs and bruised up my left side. There was 1 witness besides my ex. Since then I have had issues with my body. I had to have surgery on my right hip and now I have to have surgery on my left.

We were together when I had surgery on the right side. We are no longer together because it was an abusive relationship. I was going to just let everything go because I was happy to have him out of my life, but now I have to have surgery on my left side and feel he should be responsible in some way.

He profited from me helping him. I did not. I never received wages. He also did not have workers’ compensation insurance. He pays everyone under the table. He did have liability insurance. Is there anything I can do legally to get compensation for the injuries I’ve sustained, and the medical bills I’m dealing with? Thank you.

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 Lisa,

The operative word in your question is “volunteering.” As a volunteer with no expectation of remuneration or compensation for the work you actually did, you do not have the basis of a workers’ compensation claim.

While your ex-boyfriend may have broken some laws related to employer/worker compensation laws, those issues have no legal relevance for you. You were not a worker, but instead a volunteer. To read more about Maine’s workers-compensation laws go to the State of Maine Workers’ Compensation Board

At six years, Maine has one of the longest statute of limitations periods in the United States. This means a person injured as a result of the negligence of a third party has up to six years to settle his or her claim, or file a lawsuit.

To have the basis of a personal injury claim against your ex-boyfriend will require a showing he was negligent, and that negligence was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries. From the facts you present, there is no evidence of negligence.

Learn more here: Dangerous Stairways

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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