Common Myths About Third-Party Workplace Injury Lawsuits
MYTH 1:There was a sticker on the machine warning me not to put my hand in that moving part so I don’t have a third party suit.
WRONG: Warnings are a last resort, and if the machine could have been re-designed to eliminate the hazard, or guarded against, then you may have a product liability suit against the machine manufacturer.
MYTH 2:My co-worker removed the guard in front of where my hand got stuck in the machine, so I don’t have a third party case.
WRONG: Guards are sometimes required to be interlocked so that if it is removed from the machine for cleaning or maintenance, the machine stops working. Machine designers know this, and understand that workers sometimes remove guards or barriers to make their jobs easier.
MYTH 3:The machine I was injured on was fifty years old, and I am sure they didn’t have safety devices back then.
WRONG: Although safety devices are more common today, the concepts of machine safety and guarding of moving parts on machines has been around for 100 years.
MYTH 4:The machine I was injured on was brand new. It was very sophisticated, and must have contained the state of the art safety devices.
WRONG: Just because something is new and sophisticated does not make the machine safe. Sometimes the equipment is so sophisticated that the designers spend all of their time trying to figure out how to make it work efficiently, and ignore common engineering safety standards.
MYTH 5:If I file a lawsuit against the sub-contractor whose employee injured me, my employer will fire me.
WRONG: Your third party lawsuit has nothing to do with your relationship with your employer. Sometimes a supervisor or co-worker will threaten that your job may be in jeopardy if you pursue a third party case against a company whom your employer regularly does business. However, this type of retaliatory conduct is strictly prohibited, and should not be a consideration when evaluating a third party lawsuit.
MYTH 6:If a file a third party lawsuit, my workers’ compensation benefits will stop.
WRONG: You may receive workers’ compensation benefits, and pursue a third party lawsuit at the same time. A third party lawsuit will not stop, delay or interfere with your workers’ compensation benefits.
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