Most people injured on the job are entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in the form of medical benefits, wage loss benefits, and compensation for permanent disabling injuries as a matter right. Nevertheless, disputes often arise between injured workers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers regarding the nature and seriousness of work related injuries, and the benefits to which an injured worker is entitled.
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, many injured workers are entitled to seek damages for pain and suffering if their injury is caused by the fault of a third party other than their employer or a co-worker, or if workers’ compensation benefits are not available. These “third-party” claims arise in a vast array of work environments, including construction, manufacturing, factory sites, industrial sites and trucking.
Despite its flaws and shortcomings, Oregon Workers’ Compensation Law remains the first line of recourse for most injured workers in Oregon. Where available, however, third-party claims can substantially increase an injured worker’s compensation, helping to ease the financial hardship faced by injured workers and their families. Every serious workplace accident should be investigated by an experienced law firm to determine the viability of a third-party claim. Attorney Keith Semple of Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton, is experienced in representing injured workers to ensure that they receive the full extent of workers’ compensation benefits available.
A few relevant past cases
We represented the family of a log truck driver killed while delivering his load to a mill. After arriving at the mill’s yard, he parked where he was told, and began to remove the wrappers binding the load to the truck. While he was doing so he was struck by a log-loader and died instantly. We prosecuted a third-party claim against the log-yard owner, citing negligence, and violations of the Oregon Employer Liability Law. The case settled successfully for our client.
Commercial Guardrail Accident
A commercial painter fell 15 feet from a raised deck onto concrete when an improperly installed guardrail gave way had been installed, and our client leaned against it. In addition to the benefits he received through his workers’ compensation claim, we filed and ultimately settled a “third party” legal claim, an Employers Liability Law claim, and a premises liability claim on his behalf due to the dangerous conditions at the property.
Propane Tank Explosion
Two factory workers were severely burned when a defectively designed gauge dial on a propane tank caused a leak, which in turn caused an explosion. We brought a third-party claim on behalf of our client against the manufacturer of the gauge and the tank. We settled the case on behalf of our client, greatly benefiting the injured worker and the employer.
Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton represented an ironworker who was injured when the platform he was erecting collapsed under him. He landed in the mud, gravel and twisted steel, and was rendered quadriplegic. Though entitled to workers’ compensation for his lifetime, the compensation fell far short of his total damages. Following a thorough investigation, our firm brought a third-party claim on his behalf against the contractor and others responsible for the faulty design specifications and an overly aggressive building schedule.