A metal plant explosion in a Cleveland suburb has tragically killed one worker and injured 13 more, according to the Associated Press. At least two people are in critical condition, while the rest are being treated for less severe burns and injuries.
The accident occurred on February 20 in Oakwood Village, scattering debris for hundreds of yards outside the facility. Authorities reported that there is no evidence of criminal activity. “[F]ire officials said the explosion likely happened in the building’s foundry, where molten metals are held in kettles,” and the company is cooperating with an OSHA investigation.
What kind of legal options might the workers and the surviving family members have? It largely depends on who was responsible for causing the explosion.
When an Ohio worker is injured on the job, they are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so claimants don’t have to prove who was to blame for their injuries. They only need to prove that it occurred on the job.
Workers’ compensation typically covers medical expenses and lost wages. Families of deceased workers can file for survivors’ benefits, which may include medical expenses, funeral expenses and compensation for their loss of income.
Employer or third-party personal injury lawsuits
Many clients want to know if they can also sue their employer or a third party. When it comes to employers, you may be able to file an intentional tort lawsuit. Plaintiffs must prove that the employer acted with the intent to injure the worker, or with the belief that that an injury was “substantially certain” to occur, or that they deliberately removed safety guards or intentionally misrepresented toxic or hazardous substances, leading to injury. Intentional torts are very difficult to prove.
If a third party was responsible for your on-the-job accident, such as defective equipment or a subcontractor, you may be eligible to file a personal injury suit against the third party. A common example is when someone driving a company vehicle in the course of their employment duties is hit by another driver. The first driver may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim as well as a third-party personal injury claim.
The benefit of pursuing intentional or standard tort claims is that, if successful, plaintiffs can collect additional damages like pain and suffering. Even if you’re not entitled to file this type of claim, however, workers’ compensation coverage should help defray costs.
Discuss your claim with a workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. If you or a loved one were injured on the job, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (800) 556-4769 so that I can evaluate your case right away.