If a worker is injured due to negligence of the worker’s employer or a co-employee, the law generally bars any legal claim against the employer or co-employee and limits the worker to remedies available under the workers compensation system. (However, there is an important exception to the general prohibition against suing your employer for injuries on the job. Police and firefighters are allowed to sue their employer if their employer’s negligence causes injury or death on the job.)
*NOTE: We do not handle worker's compensation claims, which differ from injury claims arising from a third party while on the job.
Everyone deserves a safe place to work. If you were injured on the job, your employer may be responsible if they failed to do what was required of them to create a safe workplace. Our attorneys represent clients when a third party (not the employer) is responsible for the resulting injuries. Stritmatter Kessler Whelan personal injury attorneys are recognized in Seattle, Washington State and throughout the country for their successes in litigating and settling many worksite injury cases.
Workplace Injury Facts
Work related injuries that occur on the job can fall into several different categories. If a worker is injured as a result of a defective machine or piece of equipment, there may be a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller of the machine or equipment. If a worker is injured in a motor vehicle accident or collision, there may be a right to sue others who caused the collision. If a subcontractor or independent contractor worker is electrocuted and/or seriously injured due to a faulty machine/system, there may be a claim against both the employer and the manufacturer of the flawed machine.
If a worker is injured on a construction site, Washington law imposes a duty on general contractors to ensure that safety regulations are complied with on the jobsite. General contractors have a specific, non-delegable duty to comply with WISHA regulations (safety regulations) for the benefit of every person working on the jobsite, including workers employed by independent contractors. The Washington Supreme Court explained in Stute v. P.B.M.C., Inc., 114 Wn.2d 454, 463 (1990), that the general contractor’s supervisory authority places the general contractor in the best position to ensure compliance with safety regulations:
General contractors can also have duties to ensure that proper safety practices are followed under their contracts with the owner/developer. If a worker is employed by a subcontractor and is injured on a jobsite as a result of safety rules being violated, there may be a legal claim against the general contractor responsible for the jobsite.
Similar rules apply to other non-construction related injuries that arise due to an environment under the control of the property owner. The rules vary depending on the sophistication of the property owner and the degree of control they exercise over the jobsite. In some cases, a legal claim can be made against the owner of a jobsite when a worker employed by an independent contractor is injured on that jobsite.