At Bell & Brigham, we represent families in Augusta, Georgia and throughout the surrounding communities, including in South Carolina, who have suffered the impact of serious injuries and wrongful deaths in the workplace. Our goal is to obtain the maximum recovery to which you are entitled, and diligently pursue recovery from all potentially liable third parties, including any property owners, contractors, drivers, manufacturers, engineers, and architects that might share responsibility for causing your injury. We also have extensive experience handling toxic torts, class actions, and cases arising under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) involving injured railroad workers.
Third Party Lawsuits
In many workplace injury cases, workers’ compensation benefits are the only available remedy. However, even if the injury or death is covered under workers’ compensation insurance, a third party personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may also be available. Examples of third party liability situations include but are not limited to:
- Injury caused by a defective product, including toxic chemicals lacking the proper safety warnings, machinery failing or jamming, faulty building materials, safety devices failing, etc.
- A motor vehicle accident where the negligent driver was not an employee of your company or covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, such as a subcontractor or delivery vehicle that was at the workplace. This could include situations where an accident occurred while you were driving for work purposes, for example if you are a restaurant delivery person and someone hit you while you were making a delivery.
- A premises liability suit might be available if there was a dangerous hazard at the site and the property owner failed to provide adequate warning of the dangers or perform proper maintenance and repairs to the property.
The main advantage of hiring an attorney who has experience pursuing third party liability suits is that if you successfully pursue a third party personal injury lawsuit, you can recover different, and usually more, damages than you will be able to obtain from the workers’ compensation system alone. This includes recovering the actual costs you incurred for medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, which is often different from the expenses you would recover from workers’ compensation. In the workers’ compensation system, you will likely receive only a fraction of your lost wages and an even smaller fraction of any loss in earning capacity you suffer because of work-related injuries. In addition, a third party liability lawsuit provides recovery for noneconomic damages, such as for pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages in some cases, none of which are available under workers’ compensation benefits.
Many workplace injuries and illnesses, especially those at construction sites, occur because of exposure to toxic chemicals or other environmental contamination. Sometimes, these materials fail to contain important safety instructions for use or warnings about the potential side effects of exposure, especially over the long term. Other times, such as in cases of asbestos exposure or faulty drywall, any employee who works in the affected building might be similarly affected. As a result, these products liability cases often proceed as class actions or mass torts, which come with their own unique procedural challenges. We have handled numerous toxic torts and cases based on environmental contamination, and have obtained multimillion-dollar results on behalf of clients.
We have a wealth of experience recovering for clients in cases of illness and injury that occur because of exposure to toxic chemicals or working in a contaminated building. Our successes include a 20 million dollar verdict in a toxic tort where workers were exposed to mercury. Many cases involving toxic exposure include numerous plaintiffs, all of whom suffered the same negative consequences. Please see our results page for more information about other cases we have handled and our defective products page for specific details about cases involving products that are dangerously unsafe or contain inadequate safety warnings.
Federal Employers Liability Act ( FELA)
FELA, a federal law passed in 1908, protects railroad workers who have been injured on the job by giving them a remedy that is, like most personal injury lawsuits, based primarily on negligence. FELA protection is available to nearly anyone who works on railways, including maintenance workers, train crews, construction crews, laborers, railroad police officers, and clerks. FELA covers the employees of railroads:
- That have tracks in more than one state;
- That have tracks between a state and a foreign country;
- That carry goods or move railroad cars that are engaged in interstate or foreign commerce; or
- That are wholly owned by the government but chartered as corporations under state law (such as Amtrak).
Unlike a workers’ compensation case, it is necessary to prove negligence to recover under FELA. However, that means you are eligible to recover the damages available in traditional personal injury lawsuits, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages, lost future earning capacity, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
FELA also allows family members (including spouse, parents, children, or dependent next of kin) to file a wrongful death action. Unlike wrongful death suits, recovery under FELA is limited to economic losses, such as loss of financial support and services. As a result, damages for loss of consortium and companionship are not recoverable.
Consult Experienced Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured at work, seek legal counsel who can help you find any available recovery in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. We have a proven record of success recovering for our clients, and work tirelessly to help you and your family through this difficult and stressful time. If you have or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, we are here to help. If you are unable to come to us, we can visit you at home or in the hospital. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss how we can help you, contact Bell & Brigham today or call us at (800) 763-2063.
|BELL & BRIGHAM
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
|457 Greene Street (30901)
P.O. Box 1547, Augusta, GA
Toll Free: 800-763-2063