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Bar sued after off-duty employee dies in accident

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2019 | Workplace Injuries

Most in Scranton might view workplace injury cases as fairly simple matters to resolve: one is injured at work, they report the incident to the employers, and workers’ compensation benefits kick in. That might sound well in theory, yet in actual practice workplace injury cases can be much more complicated. Questions surrounding the circumstances of an accident will often be posed that attempt to reveal who truly is at fault, for workers’ compensation providers do not want to have to pay for something they consider to not be true workplace injuries. If any issue regarding the nature of an accident arises, employers and their insurers may look to deflect responsibility to pay for it. 

Such is the claim being made by the family of a Minnesota man who died due to an injury suffered at the bar he worked for. He was assisting his coworkers in forcibly removing two overly intoxicated patrons when he fell and hit his head on concrete, suffering a severe brain injury. However, one detail of the accident has been by his employer as a reason why it is not liable for his injury expenses: he was not technically on the clock when the accident occurred. 

Lower court rulings confirmed the family’s conclusion that the incident warrant workers’ compensation coverage, yet a district court overturned. The family subsequently disputed that ruling and reclassified their action as a liability lawsuit under the state’s dram shop statute, stating the bar’s actions in contributing to the patrons’ intoxication contributed to the man’s death. 

This story illustrates just how complex workplace injury cases can actually be. Those needing assistance in pursuing them may want to seek out the services of an experienced attorney.