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My brother was hired as a temp worker in a factory operating an industrial machine. His finger was amputated in a machinery accident. He didn’t receive any training because he doesn’t speak English. Can he sue the employer because he wasn’t trained?



First, I am sorry about your brother’s unfortunate machinery accident.  If his accident happened in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the workers’ compensation law from the respective state will apply.

In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, injured employees generally cannot sue their employers for injuries sustained while at work, that includes a finger amputation injury while working on an industrial machine. 

The Workers’ Compensation Act in both states provides medical benefits and partial lost wages for the injured workers regardless of who caused the accident.  If the work accident was caused by the employee’s negligence, the employee will still receive workers’ comp benefits.  Therefore, the employee’s medical expenses will be covered by workers’ comp.  If an employee misses work, he may also receive partial wage loss. 

If the accident was caused by the employer’s negligence, the injured employee will receive workers’ comp benefits, but he cannot sue the employer.

However, there are limited exceptions in both states where an employee can sue his employer for a work related accident and recover financial compensation from the employer in a personal injury lawsuit.  One of those limited situations is when an employer commits an intentional wrong. 

We would need to consider all of the facts and circumstances of your brother’s machinery accident in order to determine whether the factory employer committed an intentional wrong.  If the employer knew that not providing training for your brother may substantially lead to an accident, but didn’t provide it anyway because it had to meet a production quota, then the employer may have committed an intentional wrong. 

Even if the employer did not commit an intentional wrong, your brother may still have other claims beyond a workers’ compensation claim.  For example, if the guard on the machine was defective, your brother may have a third party claim against the machine manufacturer. 

If your brother has viable lawsuits against his employer and another party, he will be able to recover damages not recoverable in a workers’ comp claim.  Such damages include pain and suffering and the lost wages not covered by worker’s comp. 

Many injured workers believe that their only legal recourse after an industrial machinery accident at work is filing workers’ compensation claims.  This is simply not true.  We have helped many workers who were injured while on the job recover from other parties, such as a ladder manufacturer, an industrial machinery manufacturer, etc.

Related case results obtained by Daniel J. O’Brien, Esq.:

Feel free to call me at 877.944.8396 to discuss your brother’s case further or schedule a FREE consultation.

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