Unfortunately, most of us do not get to choose our coworkers. While usually everyone at your work site pulls together (hopefully), every once in a while, you may have to work with someone who cuts corners, ignores safety protocols or otherwise engages in dangerous behavior.
If a coworker causes an accident in which you get injured, what options do you have?
Your employer’s responsibility
Your employer must cover any accident that happens at the workplace, as long as your own risky behavior did not cause the injury. This requirement applies to any employer with more than three employees.
In the event of an injury at work, you should follow your organization’s accident report procedure. It may make sense for your company to request that your coworker complete a report as well. These documents can act as important evidence during the workers’ compensation claim process.
Typically, worker’s compensation covers the cost of medical treatment after the injury. In some cases, you may also receive compensation for missed days of work due to the injury.
The coworker’s responsibility
In some cases, your injury may entitle you to seek personal damages from your coworker for additional costs not covered by a workers’ compensation claim. Your negligent coworker’s actions matter a lot when it comes to seeking personal injury compensation for a work-related accident.
For example, the intent makes a difference. A coworker who accidentally drops a heavy item on your foot while restocking may not have significant liability for a personal injury claim. Yet, a coworker who purposely ignores safety warnings when stacking boxes too high is a far greater issue. Should those boxes fall and injure you, your coworker could be far more likely to owe you compensation.
In other cases, an injury caused by a coworker may get more complicated if the injury occurred while at lunch, on a break or while you and your coworker were not working on business-related tasks. In that scenario, you and your legal representation may need to solve the issue directly with your coworker.