Some professions, such as construction work, come with many dangers. Other occupations might not be dangerous ones, but employees could still deal with injuries. An office worker may develop carpal tunnel syndrome, or a grocery store employee might slip and fall. Regardless of the job title and circumstances, workers in West Virginia have rights after being injured at work.
Employee rights and injury compensation
Employees have the right to sue employers for their injuries. Liability lawsuits center on negligence, so injured employees would need to prove their employer was negligent in some way. For example, poorly maintained tools or a lack of adequate safety equipment could result in injuries.
Workers have a right to file for workers’ compensation when hurt as well. West Virginia is a no-fault workers’ comp state, so the employee does not need to prove negligence to collect benefits. However, when collecting workers’ compensation, the employee loses the ability to sue an employer outside of narrow exceptions.
Collecting workers’ compensation and suing a negligent third party might be possible. For example, a manufacturer could face a product liability suit for a defective product that caused injury to a worker.
Further employee rights
Federal and state laws extend other rights to employees. Someone who suffers a permanent injury and can no longer work has a right to apply for Social Security disability benefits. Approval depends on several factors, including providing the necessary medical proof of the disability.
When a work environment becomes dangerous due to preventable hazards, filing a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration remains an option. OSHA could impose penalties on companies that violate safety regulations. Some workplaces may experience significant improvements after OSHA levies a fine.
Employees may find it helpful to review their rights under federal and state law. Knowing one’s rights make it possible to exercise them.