Injury, illness, or fatalities that occur in the workplace are all too common, and yet many accidents are preventable. Whether the accident is caused due to an OSHA violation, defective equipment, or a poorly maintained workspace, an injured employee has the right to seek compensation for harm suffered due to others’ negligence.
While it is recognized that some fields, like construction or the oil industry, are associated with higher risk than others, each employee should be properly cautioned, equipped, and prepared to enter risky workplace conditions that come with the nature of their job. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that proper precautions are in place and employees are entering a safe work environment when they clock in.
We Know a Serious Accident Can Change Your Life
Serious injuries can cause permanent disability, require extensive medical treatments or surgeries, and hinder an employee from working. Our attorneys can help you receive the financial and emotional support you deserve so you can focus on healing.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm has more than 40 years of experience representing clients who have been involved in workplace accidents that resulted in significant disability and/or death. We have represented individuals who have been injured in Wyoming as well as claims located throughout the United States. When we take on a case, we strive to understand the unique challenges presented in each case. We answer our clients’ questions and make sure their legal rights are protected.
Worker’s Safety Rights
There are a number of state and federal employment laws in effect that protect workers from accidents or harmful actions within their place of employment. Should an employer or company act in a negligent manner or fail to provide safe working conditions, individuals and/or the corporation can be held liable.
Employees are entitled to specific rights in regards to their safety at work. The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates safety guidelines and expectations for companies, provides workers with access to information, and a space to place a complaint against a business or report violations that have the potential to cause harm. Worker’s safety rights also include:
- Available training in a language that the employee understands
- To be provided with all necessary safety equipment
- Access to a reporting system for injury or illness
- Ability to voice concern over unsafe working conditions without fear of retaliation
- To work on machines that are safe
- To be protected from toxic chemicals
- Request an OSHA inspection, and speak to the inspector
- Report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
- See results of tests taken to find workplace hazards
The Fitzgerald Law Firm represented a miner and his family when they sued the mine manager and safety manager for failing to fix dangerous environments that caused the miner to suffer brain injury and paralysis.
The jury awarded the family $22,000,000 – the largest verdict for physical injuries ever in the State of Wyoming. By law, the judgment came to $9,460,000, affirmed on appeal.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Workplace Accident in Wyoming?
The statute of limitations is a specific time limit within which a plaintiff can file a claim. States govern these laws to maintain specific standards for filing and to protect defendants from wrongful claims. Workplace accident cases can potentially fall under different statutes depending on several factors, but many workplace incidents fall under personal injury or wrongful death.
If you are injured at work be sure to follow the proper and necessary channels to report the incident. Not only can personal and eyewitness statements become key points of reference for the conditions and events of the incident, but accurate reporting can also show if the employer has a history of previous or similar incidents.
In the state of Wyoming, an injured person has four years to file a personal injury claim against the defendant. If the lawsuit involves a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff only has two years to file. Wyoming upholds a strict statute of limitations and cases that do not file within their deadline will be thrown out.
A workers’ compensation action in Wyoming must be filed within one year from the date of receiving a medical diagnosis for the work-related injury or illness, and no later than three years from the date of the accident or exposure itself.
There are exemptions and exceptions to these laws and statutes that can vary from one jurisdiction to another. It is extremely important to review your case details with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of Wyoming workplace accident laws immediately after an accident has occurred to ensure that all deadlines are met in accordance with the law. The Fitzgerald Law Firm is equipped to handle the challenging nature of workplace accidents, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that your case is in good hands.
Common Workplace Accidents
According to OSHA, construction accidents account for about 20 percent of all recorded workplace accidents that include unsafe scaffolding, lack of personal protection, and falls. Across all industries, some of the most commonly cited incidents are related to:
- Trips, Slips, and Falls
Whether from scaffolding, a ladder, or a crane, falls from high locations can cause serious injury to a person that often results in head or spine trauma, broken bones, or even death. Appropriate safety measures include the use of harnesses, proper training, and up-to-code equipment.
- Vehicle-Related Accidents
Workers who operate vehicles throughout the day should be mindful of roadway hazards including inclement weather and negligent drivers, as well as the possibility of technical failures. Vehicle hazards are not unique to roadways – on-site vehicles such as forklifts, tractors, and cranes can be equally dangerous. Workplaces should be designed to accommodate the flow of workers on foot and drivers to avoid collisions and accidents.
Risk factors include faulty gas lines, improperly stored combustible materials, or open flames. Employers are required to have safety and exit plans in place in the event of a fire, as well as protective equipment such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems.
Constant, repetitive lifting of heavy objects or working long shifts with minimal or no breaks leads to overexertion and exhaustion of employees, making them more prone to accidents. Labor laws require minimum breaks dependent on the industry and job function to ensure employees are able to maintain safety.
- Powered Haulage
Large mechanical equipment such as conveyor belts, automated equipment, industrial lifts, and cranes are extremely powerful and are commonly powered by hydraulics or electrical drive systems. While machines have safety shut-off features, there is always the possibility of becoming caught in moving equipment or injured by an equipment malfunction or operator error. Employers must maintain machines to code, and keep accurate service records for each piece of equipment to ensure accidents do not happen.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Workplace Accident Lawsuit?
Receivable damages in a workplace accident can vary greatly depending on the specifics of each case. Injuries caused by heavy machinery or falls from great heights can be severe and the resulting medical costs can be overwhelming. The individual or company that is responsible for the negligence that led to an injury or death is financially responsible for the damages incurred by the incident. Potential damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress experienced as a result of the injuries and those reasonably probable to be experienced in the future
- Disability and/or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life and any loss of enjoyment of life reasonably probable to be experienced in the future
- Loss of earnings and earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Caretaking expenses
A person who is injured at work and does not allege any liability or negligence can be eligible for compensation through worker’s compensation laws that cover medical costs, extended leave, and lost wages. This benefit is distributed through the employer’s insurance and negates the employee’s ability to sue. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services details employee benefits and the steps to file a claim. Employees can seek legal counsel to assist them in the process and ensure all their coverage needs are met.
How We Can Help
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious accident at work due to negligence of your employer or company, it is important to contact an experienced attorney immediately. Each workplace accident is unique and requires a detailed analysis of the events leading up to the event, an evaluation of damages, and communications with insurance companies. Reaching out to an attorney is the first step in finding out if you have a case.
Our experienced Wyoming workplace accident attorneys can answer your questions during a free, confidential consultation. Contact us here and let us help you on your road towards justice.
JUSTICE IS HEALING.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm Wyoming personal injury attorneys hold the record for the largest verdicts ever upheld on appeal in Wyoming for injuries and wrongful death.
For over 40 years, our personal injury law firm, based in Cheyenne, has delivered extraordinary results for clients all over the United States with our cornerstone belief: finding the truth and justice.
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If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed, you are welcome to contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Nationally Recognized Wyoming Personal Injury Law Firm