Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Worker's Compensation Act, a worker who is injured at work cannot sue his employer even if the accident was caused by the employer's negligence. The question then becomes, what are the worker's legal rights?
Typically, the injured worker can file a worker's compensation claim. However, there may also be a third party claim against another party. For example, if an outside contractor was negligent and caused the accident, a lawsuit can be filed against the outside contractor for the injured worker's damages.
There is however, a very specific situation where an injured worker can sue his employer pursuant to PA case law.
In the case of Martin v. Lancaster Battery Co., Mr. Martin worked at the battery factory and was exposed to lead dust and fumes in the course of his employment. Employees were tested regularly to monitor the lead content in their blood pursuant to federal regulations.
The supervisor overseeing the blood tests purposely withheld Mr. Martin's blood test results for over a 3 year period and even changed the results in some instances. As a result, Mr. Martin developed chronic lead toxicity and other serious related medical conditions.
Mr. Martin sued his employer for his injuries. The employer argued that Mr. Martin's exclusive remedy was to file a worker's compensation claim because he developed his medical condition as a result of working at the battery plant.
However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did not agree with the employer's argument and held that the supervisor's actions were not covered by the Act. The Supreme Court further stated that the Act does not preclude an action at common law for intentional wrongs committed by fellow employees.
In this situation, Mr. Martin's work-related injuries were aggravated by his supervisor's intentional fraudulent misrepresentation of his blood results. Therefore, Mr. Martin was able to bring a claim for his work-related injuries in this situation.
Workplace accidents and injuries are often life changing for the injured worker. A worker's compensation claim is not the only legal claim an injured worker can file. A thorough investigation is needed to determine all other liable parties. Therefore, an experienced construction accident and workplace injury lawyer is needed to conduct the investigation.
If you believe that your work-related injuries were aggravated by your employer's fraudulent misrepresentation, like in Mr. Martin's case, feel free to contact Dan O'Brien at 877.944.8396.
Dan O'Brien, a PA and NJ construction accident and workplace injury lawyer has helped many injured workers and helped them get back on their feet.