Negligence in the Workplace: Workers’ Rights, Employers’ Obligations

Workplace accidents present a unique burden to employees and employers alike. As a worker, one day you are at work, trying to earn a living. The next day, you’re injured and struggling to make ends meet. No one wants a workplace accident to happen. It’s a veritable nightmare for employers, employees, those in charge of safety and all supervisors. It can cause more work and harm the reputation of the company. Workplace accidents come in many forms. Some are pure accidents that could never be predicted. Many, however, are the sorts of accidents that could be stopped with proper planning. All too often, people are hurt in the workplace because of negligence.

The commonality of negligence

Negligence lurks everywhere in the world today. While people should be responsible and reasonable, they often fail to live up to those duties. This can lead to guilt, as those responsible will know that they could have prevented harm if they had been a bit more responsible for their actions. There are many consequences that follow when negligence is the issue. Information can leak in the workplace. People can be hurt. Accidents can cause serious injury or death. No matter what consequences might follow, if there is a way to prevent an accident, then steps should be taken to prevent it.

With this in mind, it is critical that employers and employees alike avoid negligence. This article will provide insight into how a business can create a lawful and safe environment. It provides basic tips and outlines some of the responsibilities of employers as well as some of the rights that workers have.

What is negligence in the workplace?

There are several duties imposed on employers who open their doors for business. There is a lawful expectation that workers will be safe when they show up to work. With this in mind, to avoid negligence, an employer must do several things, including the following:

    ●   Eliminating as many risks to the safety of employees as is practical or reasonable

    ●   Minimizing risks when it is not practical to eliminate them

The first prong of negligence is duty. In order for someone to be found negligent, there must have been a duty imposed on them. This duty can apply to the employer generally or more specifically to people overseeing operations for the company. Negligence occurs whenever a person who has a duty fails to act as a reasonable person would in fulfilling that duty. From there, if an injury occurs as a result of the breach, then the responsible party must pay for any resulting damages.

What consequences follow employer negligence?

There are several consequences that can occur when an employer breaches this duty. For one, a physical injury can occur. In the worst cases, a worker is hurt because of some action by the employer or some failure to act. This can cause the worker to miss out on work or have a worse quality of life. Workers can often claim the medical costs associated with their injury if they had to have surgery or go to the hospital as a result.

Workers are often able to claim loss of income or lower earning potential as a result of workplace accidents. These damages are related but have some differences. Loss of income refers to the specific paychecks that workers miss out on when they are sitting at home. Loss of earning potential refers to the effect the accident has on the ability of workers to get opportunities in the future.

Landing in litigation as a result of an accident

When a severe accident occurs, a lawsuit may follow. Workers are entitled to raise and pursue claims associated with the accident. This can force an employer to defend against the claim in court. Employers should recognize that litigation is often both expensive and embarrassing. Avoiding it altogether is something that employers should focus on because the cost of prevention is much less than the cost of correcting the problem.

How much can workers claim in damages?

Whether you are a worker who has been injured or a company looking to defend against a claim, you’ll want to have an idea of potential compensation. Damages will often depend on the seriousness of the injury and also the conduct of the employer. Workers are entitled to claim the full extent of the injuries and all of the economic costs mentioned above. They can also be entitled to money for their pain and suffering. This amount can pile up very quickly, which is why many employers enlist a good law firm to work out a settlement before things head toward litigation.

Many companies in Atlanta, for instance, have liability when their employees slip due to dangerous conditions. They can be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars if the injury is severe enough. Employees often enlist the help of a high quality Atlanta slip and fall lawyer in order to understand just how much they are entitled to when these accidents happen. These lawyers provide free case assessments in the beginning and valuable legal recommendations as the case goes along.

What obligations do employers have?

Many employers want to get out ahead of problems before they happen. To do so, they need a solid understanding of their obligations. They first have an obligation to provide a safe working environment. This means a workplace free of hazards. The best employers try to predict potential problems before they occur.

Employers must also keep in mind the overall health and well being of their employees. This means caring for the mental health of their employees, as well. While things like slip and fall accidents get tremendous attention, many employees have been harmed over the years by more insidious dangers, like infestations and hidden toxins.

The rights of employees under existing laws

Employees are entitled to claim damages according to the workers’ compensation coverage that employers have. While this will be enough in many cases, some employers and their insurance providers will fight employees when an accident happens. This is where good attorneys come into play. They ensure that employees are treated fairly in these negotiations and that payments are complete and timely.