Workers’ Compensation May Be the Sole Remedy for Some, But Not All, Accident Victims

Workers’ compensation is a program that is designed to compensate workers who are injured while on the job. In order to qualify for the program, an employer must meet certain criteria. If these criteria are met, an employee who is injured or killed while on the job may be required to seek compensation through the workers’ compensation program. However, if an employer fails to meet the necessary criteria, a personal injury case will not be barred, and an injured party may pursue a claim against their employer. A recent case illustrates how these cases proceed through the court system.

Kay v. Wiggins:  The Facts

Wiggins ran a furniture business. On the side, he would move Budget rental trucks from one location to another for extra income. Kay was an employee of Wiggins, who would help out both with the furniture business and also with the truck-relocation project. On the day in question, Wiggins asked Kay to relocate a truck. Because of inclement weather, Kay was reluctant. Wiggins told Kay that if the truck was not moved on that evening, it would have to be moved the next morning.

That next morning, Kay arrived, planning to relocate the truck. However, on the way to his destination, he was involved in an accident that claimed his life. Kay’s estate sued Wiggins, arguing that he was at least in part responsible for Kay’s death. In response, Wiggins asked the court to dismiss the case and showed the court documentation that he was in compliance with the state’s workers’ compensation program. Kay provided nothing to rebut this evidence.

The court began by noting that Wiggins was arguing an “affirmative defense,” meaning that he was not contesting his role in the accident but was contesting that he was liable for the death of Kay. Specifically, Wiggins claimed that he was immune from the lawsuit because he complied with the workers’ compensation program. The court noted that when a defendant argues an affirmative defense, it is their burden to present some evidence of the defense. Here, Wiggins presented the cover page to his workers’ compensation policy and a print-out of his compliance. The court held that this met Wiggins’ burden, and without additional evidence from Kay, Wiggins provided sufficient evidence to show that he was compliant with the workers’ compensation program, and therefore Kay’s sole remedy was to pursue compensation through the workers’ compensation program.

Have You Been Injured in a Workplace Accident in Maryland?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident while on the job, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. While workers’ compensation is the sole remedy for some accident victims, it may not be for you. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries in Maryland Car Accidents, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published June 16, 2016.

Court Permits Accident Victim’s Case against Church Alleging Dangerous Placement of Parking Lot, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published July 13, 2016.

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