Serious injury and death occur in the workplace at an average rate of 15 times a day nationally, according to a recent study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Serious safety violations increased 12% from 2003 through 2007, while the average fine against employers for deadly workplace violations averaged only $11,300. Even in the most serious cases, employers rarely face criminal prosecution. The lack of significant monetary penalty serves little deterrent to employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees. Under Virginia law, a worker injured in the course and scope of his employment can’t sue his employer unless the employer willfully placed him in harm’s way. However, if a third-party or “stranger” to the workplace causes the injury or death, a Virginia employee has the right to bring a lawsuit for injuries incurred.
If you have questions regarding a significant injury at work, call one of the attorneys at Pierce & Thornton.