Ordinarily, employers aren’t liable for workers’ injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance covers them. But if managers ignore safety guidelines that they know could prevent injuries, the employee can sue.
Recent case: Construction worker Joel Tripp died when a backhoe pinned him against the wall of a deep trench. His widow sued, arguing that the workers’ comp law allowed her to do so because managers had allowed Tripp to remain in the trench.
The court threw out her case because the company hadn’t been cited for the practice and because Tripp should have exited the trench while the backhoe was working. (Jackson v. ES&J Enterprises, No. COA11-225, Court of Appeals of North Carolina, 2012)