Visitor Question

Safety Hazards at Work Cause Injuries…

Submitted By: Martha (Hampton, VA)

My place of employment has a dangerous drain hole and warped tile floor. It has been a safety hazard for almost 3 years. Many safety reports have been filed but it has become increasingly deeper and dangerous.

I got my foot caught in the hole and fell, causing leg, knee and back injuries. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Only x-rays were taken and they showed no broken bones. I am in severe pain and know my right knee is badly damaged.

I was told by the workers compensation doctor that I had to wait until Monday for any further tests. I am on crutches and in severe pain but was told to return to work anyway, and that my employer had to approve any time off. I have several restrictions.

Can I sue the building owner personally for damages (my employer is suing the building owner)? How do I handle being told to work with severe pain? 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 Martha,

You can sue the building owner as long as the owner isn’t your employer. From the facts you present it appears the owner and your employer are two separate entities. Before you think about suing anyone you must first know the severity of your injuries.

So far you have been lucky not to have broken any bones.

We suspect if your knee is hurting the doctors may order an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) examination, or a CAT Scan (Computer Axial Tomography) examination. The MRI can determine with great accuracy the extent of any injuries to your back, neck, leg and just about any other regions of your body. The CAT Scan is a better indicator of damage to any internal organs.

If you are fortunate enough to have incurred no more than serious sprains, then your workmans compensation claim won’t be worth much more than your medical bills and a majority of your lost wages. If the same holds true for the building owner, your case may be worth the same; that is, not much more than what are referred to as your “soft tissue” injuries.

Let’s all hope you only suffered those soft tissue injuries and nothing more serious. If your injuries are more serious then soft tissue, then the settlement compensation becomes much more complicated.

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: December 1, 2011

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