On the Job Injuries: Third-Party Liability

An Alabama man was recently injured while on the job in an Alabama manufacturing plant. He was walking thru the main aisle way of a storage warehouse when a container weighing several hundred pounds fell on top of him. The man suffered five fractures, some of which required surgery to stabilize.

Generally, an injured employee’s only remedy is under the Alabama Worker’s Compensation Act. However, if the injury is actually caused by an individual or entity with no connection to the employer (a third party), the injured worker may pursue a case against the third party directly.

For instance, If an employee’s on the job injury is caused by a defective product, the injured employee has an independent cause of action against the manufacturer of that product. Similarly, and also by example, if an employee is injured in a car wreck (while working) in which another individual or another entity’s employee (not a co-employee of the injured employee) is at fault, the injured employee may recover from that third party.

An injured employee may also have a cause of action against a co-employee if the injured employee can show that the co-employee acted “willfully” in causing the injury. Alabama Code ยง 25-5-11 identifies the following categories that constitute “willful conduct”:

1) acting “with a purpose or design or intent to injure another . . .”

2) “. . . removal from a machine of a safety guard or safety device” from machinery
3) “. . . intoxication of another employee of the employer. . .”

4) “. . . intentional violation of a written safety rule. . .”

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury while working, the Alabama personal injury lawyers at Allred & Allred, P.C. would appreciate the opportunity to investigate your claim to see if you may have a claim against a third-party.