Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Settlement - Find Out Here if You Qualify.
Free Injury Consultation Call for family law consultation rates
Español Tap to Call(800) 811-9495

Can I Sue for Unsafe Conditions in the Workplace?

“Can I sue my employer for unsafe working conditions in North Carolina?” You may ask this question if you’ve been injured or developed a medical condition resulting from an unsafe work environment.

Suing your employer in common law (meaning filing suit in district or superior court to get compensation for pain and suffering and full economic losses) for unsafe working conditions is typically not an option if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The same statute that created workers’ compensation rights in North Carolina, also takes away the right to sue in common law for injuries in the workplace, even when the employer is negligent.  NC General Statute 97-10.1. In other words, in most situations, workers’ compensation law provides the “exclusive remedy” for workplace injuries or accidents.

That being said, often workplace injuries are caused, at least in part, by a party other than the employer or a co-employee. For example, if an employee of Corporation A is delivering parts to Corporation B’s factory, and a piece of machinery falls on them while in Corporation B’s factory, the injured worker may very well be able to sue Corporation B for their injuries, sometimes for millions of dollars.

Another example is when the Corporation A employee is working on a machine that was made by Corporation B, and the negligent design of the machine injures the Corporation A employee, they may be able to sue Corporation B in common law.

The point is, if the negligence of a party other than the injured worker’s employer is responsible for the worker’s injury, that worker may be able to sue the third party.

The attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can review the circumstances of your injury and help you understand your legal options. Our workplace injury lawyers have been helping injured workers seek the benefits they need for decades. Contact our law firm today for more information about how we can help you.

What To Do if You’ve Experienced Unsafe Conditions at Work

You should bring unsafe working conditions to your employer’s attention. If a work safety hazard exists, the employer should take steps to remedy it. If your employer does not take your report seriously, you should report the unsafe conditions to the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the North Carolina Department of Labor. Their phone numbers are 919-779-8560 or 1-800-625-2267.

If you get hurt because of unsafe working conditions, take the following steps immediately:

  • Tend to any injuries requiring immediate attention
  • Move to a safe spot away from any hazards
  • Report the incident to your employer
  • Get the names and contact information of witnesses, particularly those who aren’t co-workers
  • Take pictures of your injuries
  • Ask your employer not to delete any footage of the incident that may exist

Seek medical treatment. Because you will likely file a workers’ compensation claim, you must follow certain procedures to ensure you can receive reimbursement for medical expenses.

Your employer may direct you to seek care from a healthcare provider on-site or require you to seek treatment from a healthcare provider they have chosen to handle work-related injury cases.

If your employer doesn’t direct you to seek care from another source, see your own doctor or go to the emergency room. Let those providing your care know your injuries are work-related and provide them with your employer’s name and contact information.

Unsafe working conditions can also result in occupational illnesses. Inform your employer if you believe you’ve developed such a condition due to workplace hazards. Seek treatment and follow a doctor’s recommended treatment plan.

If you believe that the injury was caused by hazardous workplace conditions, you can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the North Carolina Department of Labor. Their phone numbers are 919-779-8560 or 1-800-625-2267. They can perform a thorough investigation that your lawyer might be able to use in the future. Most importantly, the investigation may prevent other employees from being hurt in the future.

How Our Workplace Injury Lawyers Can Help

Can you sue for unsafe work conditions? If you were injured due to unsafe conditions on a third party’s property while performing your work duties for your employer, you may have a right to sue the at-fault third party.

If you were harmed while working in a dangerous environment because your safety equipment failed due to faulty design or manufacture, you could file a third-party claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective equipment. In certain circumstances, filing a third-party claim or lawsuit in addition to pursuing workers’ compensation benefits may be an option.

However, you can’t sue your employer. In North Carolina, most employers with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide employees with timely benefits for work-related injuries while protecting employers from lawsuits.

You should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney if your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier is challenging your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. can help by:

  • Reviewing your workplace injuries and explaining the workers’ compensation claims process
  • Coordinating with insurance companies, doctors, and other parties who may be involved in the claim
  • Working to get your medical care approved and paid for
  • Getting you paid compensation while you are out of work
  • Negotiating for a fair settlement with the insurance company

The lawyer who handles your on-the-job injury case may also determine that you have grounds to pursue a third-party personal injury claim based on the circumstances of your injury. If so, we can assist with this additional claim.

Remember that filing a third-party claim or lawsuit may require gathering substantial evidence to prove that someone else is responsible for your injuries. You might have to conduct an investigation to gather this evidence. Often expert witnesses must be called to investigate and testify. Investigating the cause of your injuries is a task a workplace injury attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks can handle on your behalf.

Contact Our Raleigh Workplace Injury Lawyers

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. our clients are our primary focus. To that end, we have two attorneys Joseph R. Baznik and Ross Weatherspoon who are fluent in both Spanish and English and can discuss your legal questions in your preferred language. Our attorneys and staff take pride in providing clients with personalized attention and hands-on treatment. We have a state-of-the-art case tracking system to manage our cases.

Our workplace injury attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we don’t charge you any upfront costs when we take your work injury case. Our legal fee will be a percentage of the compensation you receive if our law firm is successful in obtaining a settlement or court award for you.

Call 919-661-9000 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

About the Author

Robert C. Younce, JR
Robert C. Younce is an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. and concentrates his law practice on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. He has tried over 100 workers’ comp cases to Opinion and Award and about a dozen personal injury jury trials to verdict. He has been board-certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a specialist in workers’ compensation law since 2001.

Awards & Memberships