St. Louis Employer Negligence Lawyers
Can You Sue an Employer After a Workplace Accident?
Most workers know that if they are injured on the job, they can seek payment from their company’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Injured workers will often call our office and mention how negligent their employer has been, but this is generally not going to be a factor in the case. The law in Missouri has limits on what an employer can be held liable for. In most cases, you cannot sue your employer after a workplace accident, even when your employer was clearly negligent.
At The Dixon Injury Firm, we represent injured workers in all types of workers’ compensation cases. If you were involved in an on-the-job accident or developed a work-related illness, we can assist you in understand your rights and legal options. Although you may not be able to sue your employer directly, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and, in some cases, you may also be eligible to bring a third-party work injury claim against another negligent person or party.
Fault Generally Does Not Matter in Work-Related Accident & Injury Claims
Workers’ compensation, which began during the industrial era, is built on an implicit agreement between employers and their employees. Employers agree that they will pay benefits to their employees for virtually any injury or illness they suffer while on the job or as a result of their job-related duties. Under the workers’ compensation system, employees are paid for any medical care they need, as well as a portion of their lost wages while they are out of work. If an employee sustains a more serious injury, a specific formula is used to determine payment. Under this system, it does not matter whose fault the injury was—employees simply receive a set amount of compensation for their injuries.
In exchange, workers give up their right to sue for negligence. Essentially, employees do not need to prove that anyone was negligent or careless; they are still entitled to benefits. But they cannot take legal action against their employers—even when those employers are negligent. This does not always work in the employees’ favor, as workers’ compensation payments can be very low.
For example, ProPublica estimates that the average worker who loses a leg in Missouri will be paid $102,679. In contrast, if a truck driver caused an accident that resulted in a pedestrian suffer a crushed leg that required amputation, the resulting personal injury settlement or verdict could easily reach into the seven-figure range, as juries attempt to compensate for intangible factors like pain and suffering.
Additionally, Missouri’s workers’ compensation law can actually use an employee’s negligence to take away compensation, even though similar rules do not exist for employers. Missouri Statutes Section 287.120 says that benefits can be reduced by 25% to 50% if the employee had actual knowledge of a safety rule and failed to follow the rule.
Third Parties Can Be Sued for Negligence
All that being said, employers in Missouri do have a duty to provide a safe workplace. While it is extremely difficult to pursue an employer negligence claim, workers’ compensation laws do nothing to restrict lawsuits against third parties when third-party negligence contributes to an on-the-job injury.
For example, if a fast-food worker is assaulted by someone attempting to rob the store, that injured worker could sue the robber directly in a civil injury claim, despite having limited claims related to employer negligence.
Additionally, it’s important to note that Missouri has also gone through many changes related to suing a coworker for negligence. The courts and the legislature have tried to limit lawsuits against coworkers but in an early 2017 case, a Missouri appellate court seemed to approve such suits. The case involved a worker at a Mexican restaurant who failed to secure a ladder for a coworker that was coming down from a storage area. The worker fell off the ladder and seriously injured her hand, elbow, and shoulder. The court said her case should be considered.
The Dixon Injury Firm Can Help You
Employers who disregard employee safety should be held accountable. While you may be unable to sue your employer directly, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured in any way while carrying out duties that benefitted your employer. At The Dixon Injury Firm, we can investigate your case and explore all possible avenues of compensation. This may include examining third-party negligence, such as the negligence of a coworker, equipment manufacturer, or some other person or party. We leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of maximizing your benefits and compensation.
At The Dixon Injury Firm, our goal is to help injured workers get back on their feet. Our St. Louis employer negligence lawyers are ready to review your case and inform you of your legal options. Throughout the process, we will provide consistent communication and updates on the status of your case. Our team is available 24/7 to take your call.
There Is No Fee Unless We Win Your Case
The Dixon Injury Firm offers contingency fees, meaning we only accept attorneys’ fees (which are based on a pre-agreed on percentage of your total recovery) if and when we win your case. If we do not recover compensation for you, you do not pay.
We also offer free initial consultations, meaning you have nothing to lose in reaching out to our team to discuss your case.
Call (314) 208-2808 today to get started with your complimentary case evaluation!