Determining If a Workplace Injury Was Caused by an Accident or Negligence

Workers' compensation claims are based on a no fault system. This means that workers who sustain injuries in the workplace can file a workers' compensation claim in Baltimore without having to prove that the accident occurred because of fault or negligence. Usually, the no fault nature of workers' comp means that employees give up their right to file lawsuits against their employers because of workplace injuries. However, there are exceptions. After sustaining injuries because of your job, you have the right to consult a workers' comp lawyer to determine if you might be able to recover greater compensation through a lawsuit. This will depend on whether the incident was accidental or caused by negligence.

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Differentiating Between Accidents and Negligence

By definition, an accident is an unplanned, unexpected event that causes bodily injuries and did not occur due to someone's fault. For example, an office worker could be carrying a heavy box of copy paper. He or she might stub a toe, fall to the floor, and break an arm. Assuming that nothing except pure chance caused the stubbed toe, this is an example of an accident. In contrast, an accident caused by negligence might not necessarily be an intentional effort to injure someone, but it does occur due to someone else's fault. A freshly mopped floor might result in a slip and fall incident. If an employer failed to provide safety equipment like wet floor signs, then this might be an example of negligence. Negligence can be broadly defined as conduct that falls below the standard of care that a person could reasonably expect to maintain.

Identifying the Types of Workplace Negligence

When your workers' comp lawyer evaluates your claim to determine whether it might be appropriate to file a lawsuit, he or she will look for acts or behaviors that fall below the widely accepted standard of care. Negligent acts can include any types of violations of OSHA standards. An employer might be negligent in failing to properly train employees in safety procedures or the use of safety equipment. Sometimes, an employer might even be found to be negligent in hiring or employee retention procedures if an improperly screened hire harms others in the workplace.

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