Not long ago, WTHR (Channel 13) in Indianapolis reported something that might surprise or even shock you. In a workplace accident, even if your employer puts you in danger, you cannot sue your employer for workplace injuries or even death.
The report put a spotlight on the case of a maintenance worker at the Marion Hampton Inn. According to the Indiana Department of Labor, 68-year old Myron Fischer was trying to repair a ceiling over the drained hotel pool when he fell off a ladder to his death in April of 2016.
Jolda Fischer, the widow of Myron Fischer, told Channel 13 News no one from the Hampton Inn or its parent company U.S. Hospitality LLC apologized or explained what happened.
According to the report, “The Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigated Fischer's death. IOSHA cited and fined the hotel for three safety violations. Inspectors with the agency cited U.S. Hospitality with one serious violation because they failed to establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees, and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm."
You’d think there would be just compensation to the Fischer family.
However, as it turns out, WTHR reports that “In Indiana, employers cannot be sued for ‘on the job’ injuries - even a worker's death - no matter how egregious or negligent the company's actions. Employers are protected by the Workers Comp Exclusivity Remedy.”
Under Indiana law, workers compensation remedies are limited. By not having the ability to file a civil lawsuit against the employer, widows like Jolda will only receive burial costs, final medical bills paid, and two thirds of the deceased spouse’s wages for 10-years.
In Myron Fishers death, the initial fines totaled $4,800. But WTHR discovered in its reporting that U.S. Hospitality ended up only paying $2,400, just half of the original fine amount.
The only option in many cases is to sue a third party for faulty products or equipment involved in the accident that resulted in the injury or death. In many cases, a third party does not exist.
Data from the Indiana Department of Labor shows eight Hoosier workers died on-the-job between September 30, 2016 and April 30, 2017.
Theodoros & Rooth does want you to realize that no two cases of injury on the job are alike. Despite this WTHR story, if you or a loved one is injured in the workplace – whether in an office or at a construction site – Theodoros & Rooth wants to hear about it. Our firm has over 110 years combined experience dealing with people who have been hurt or even killed due to negligence on the part of an employer. We never charge for a consultation and promise to represent you aggressively until you receive the justice you deserve.
Source: WTHR, Indianapolis
Photo courtesy of WTHR