As a general rule, pursuant to New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act, employees hurt while on the job cannot sue their employers for injuries sustained from situations such as:
However, in New Jersey, there is an exception to the rule. In a 2002 New Jersey case, Laidlow v. Hariton Machinery Co., Inc., the New Jersey Supreme Court explained the “intentional wrong” exception, which is where the employer knows the consequences of an act are substantially certain to result in harm.
In the Laidlow case, the employer removed a safety device from a machine to increase productivity, knowing that removing the device was substantially certain to result in injury to workers. As a result, the court allowed the injured worker to sue the employer.
Therefore, when an employer commits an intentional act, one where the employer knows that the consequences of the act are substantially certain to result in harm, the injured worker may bring suit against his or her employer.
As construction and industrial accident lawyers, we help many injured workers from New Jersey and have seen employers commit intentional wrongs. One situation we see often is with industrial machinery. Like the employer in Laidlow, employers often remove safety devices, such as machine guarding at shear points or nip points to increase productivity. As a result, machine operators often sustain crush or amputation injuries.
Many injured workers at construction sites and industrial factories believe that their only legal remedy is to file a workers' compensation claim; however, this is not true. If the accident happened in New Jersey, and the injury resulted from the employer's intentional act or wrong, then the injured worker may be able to file a lawsuit against his employer in addition to filing a workers' compensation claim.
For more information about legal claims and remedies as a result of a workplace accident, contact our experienced New Jersey injury lawyers who specialize in construction and industrial accidents at 877.944.8396.