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My son fell off a ladder while at work and broke several bones in his body. He told his boss the ladder was broken, but his boss told him to use it or get another job. Can he sue his boss for his injuries?

 

A:

It depends.  Generally, an employee who is injured while at work in Pennsylvania or New Jersey cannot sue his employer pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act.  In other words, even if the accident was caused by the employer’s negligence, the injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against the employer.  The injured worker can only file a Workers’ Compensation claim to cover his medical expenses and wage loss.

However, there are specific situations in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey where an employee can sue the employer for injuries sustained while at work.  This is known as the “intentional wrong” exception. 

An example of this is seen in a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case. An injured factory worker was able to sue his employer for chronic lead toxicity and other serious medical conditions he developed after being exposed to lead dust and fumes at work.  The employee was regularly tested and monitored for lead content in the blood, and his employer purposely withheld his blood test results for a 3 year period.  As a result, the employee developed serious medical conditions.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered the employer’s action as an intentional wrong, and the injured worker was allowed to sue the employer. See Can You Sue Your Employer In PA For A Workplace Injury?

Click here to read about a NJ case where an injured worker was allowed to sue his employer: New Jersey Employees & Workers Injured On The Job Can Sue Employers For Willful Violations

Therefore, if your son’s boss knew that the ladder was broken, knew that there was a substantial likelihood that someone would get hurt while on the ladder, but told his employees to use it anyway, your son may be able to bring a lawsuit against his boss.  Of course, I need more information and facts surrounding your son’s unfortunate fall accident because in ladder fall accident cases, employer liability is heavily dependent on the facts. There must be evidence that the employer engaged in something more than gross negligence.  Fraudulent behavior is the kind of conduct which may establish employer liability in Pennsylvania.

Feel free to contact me @ 877.944.8396.  We provide free consultations to all prospective clients.


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