The employer is responsible for a dangerous work environment that resulted in a near-fatal shooting, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
After a lone convenience store worker was shot in the leg during a May 10, 2015 armed robbery, OSHA cited Speedway LLC Inc. for a “serious violation” and ordered it to pay a $7,000 fine. Inspectors observed a number of deficiencies as the gas station-convenience store, including the lack of a drive-through window for late-night operations, a lack of a panic button, and no bulletproof glass or other barrier. OSHA also insisted that the store make other physical changes, such as signage that advertises the security precautions and deters possible criminals.
Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York, declared that “The hazards of workplace violence in late night retail establishments are well known, but so are the measures employers can take to safeguard their employees against these hazards.”
Suing Outside Workers’ Compensation
Because there is less money in the workers’ compensation system, it is more important than ever to look for ways to legally bypass the system and sue in civil court for damages. Procedurally, victims can demand more money in civil court. Practically, jurors nearly always want to blame someone when a tragedy occurs, and a greedy employer who puts profits before people is often a tempting target.
Injured workers have a number of options to take their claims outside the Workers’ Compensation Board, including:
- Scaffolding Law: This provision applies to many construction accidents, and it holds general contractors strictly liable for injuries in civil court.
- Extreme Recklessness: In the above story, if Speedway knew about the dangerous conditions in the store and continued to post workers alone in overnight hours, the victim may have a claim in civil court.
- Negligent Co-Worker: A common example is a driver of a company-owned vehicle who crashes and injures a fellow worker.
- Defective Product: The manufacturer of a dangerous product is responsible for any injuries that it causes.
In a workers’ compensation claim, victims may receive money to compensate for their lost wages and medical expenses. In a negligence lawsuit, victims may also be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
For a free consultation with hard-working attorneys who look at the case from every angle, contact our office.