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Workers' Compensation does not Protect Intentional Misconduct


Have you ever been hurt on the job? Did your employer deny that he or she had anything to do with that injury? Were you injured by faulty equipment? This is a question that comes up a thousand times a day in the real world. Typically, an employer will claim tort immunity and that they are precluded from civil liability based on a state’s worker’s compensation act. However, what happens when the employee claiming to be injured alleges that the employer engaged in intentional misconduct?

In Ex parte Austal USA, LLC, several workers claimed that they had been injured by a tool known as a “Miller saw.” The workers sued Austal claiming that Austal had intentionally injured its workers with the tool so that it could build ships without having to incur the costs of finding a safer alternative.

The company claimed that it was immune from civil liability under the provisions of the Longhshore & Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (“the Act”) as well as under the provisions of the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. The Supreme Court of Alabama looked to Rodriguez-Flores v. U.S. Coatings, Inc., in which the court recognized that there is an “exceedingly narrow” exception to an employer’s tort immunity under the act when the employer has committed an intentional tort with the specific intent or desire that injury occur. Therefore, Austal was not allowed to dismiss the case.

It is likely that not only would the company be responsible for the injured worker, but the injured worker may have a case against the manufacture of the equipment.

If you ever find yourself injured at work it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney who handles worker’s compensation cases.

If you have been injured on the job, contact Ingram Law LLC at (205) 335-2640. We have helped injured workers’ recover more than $1 million in the last year.

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