Can injured workers file personal injury suits and workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2017 | Construction Workers' Accidents |

There are numerous opportunities for a deli worker to suffer injuries on the job. For one, workers are operating high-powered slicing devices, using knives and lugging around giant and heavy packages of meats. Sometimes, a deli worker could get injured by a defective product or piece of machinery on the job, and that might lead to both a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. Can a worker file for both?

In one recent case that happened in Joliet, Illinois, a deli department worker was trying to move a 50-pound package of frozen chicken when a defective handle gave way. The female worker went to pick up a 50-pound box of chicken when the handle broke and she was hurt. Now, the woman is filing a personal injury lawsuit against Tyson Foods Inc — the maker of the frozen chicken that hurt her — for financial damages relating to her injuries.

Boxes of frozen chicken at the woman’s workplace, Homer Glen Meijer, are equipped with handles so that they can be held from both sides. Those handles should be capable of supporting the weight of the box when used.

A work-related injury caused by a defective product could allow the hurt worker to pursue both workers’ compensation benefits and file a personal injury suit. In a workers’ compensation claim, no concept of fault enters the equation. The only matter to consider is whether the worker was indeed hurt within the course and scope of his or her employment. With a personal injury claim, on the other hand, fault or negligence must be proved by the claimant in order to receive a recovery from the defendant.

When filing a workers’ compensation claim in addition to a personal injury action for the same job-related accident, no “double-dipping” is allowed. Double-dipping is informal legal language that refers to seeking financial compensation for the same damages from two different parties. As such, any compensation received will be shared by both the at-fault party and the workers’ compensation insurance provider in the event that both claims are successful.

Source: Patch, “Deli Worker Injured By 50 Pounds of Frozen Chicken: Lawsuit,” accessed Jan. 10, 2017

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