What to do if I hired a worker for cash to help out for a few days and now he claims to have broken his ankle so is suing?

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What to do if I hired a worker for cash to help out for a few days and now he claims to have broken his ankle so is suing?

I have tried to reach out and help him; he refused any of my help. He wants to sue. I don’t know how to proceed with matter to get it resolved. What is the proper action I need to take for my benifits and help get this over with?

Asked on December 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If he was hurt on the job and you had worker's compensation for him, the worker's compensation would provide his recourse or recovery; he would put in a worker's compensation claim. Worker's compensation generally prevents the employee from suing, since he gets the Worker's Comp in exchange for the right to sue.

If you did not have worker's compensation coverage for him, then if he is hurt on the job because of some safety hazard at work or the negligence (carelessness) of a co-worker or supervisor, then he could potentially sue to recover his out-of-pocket medical costs, lost wages, and potentially some pain and suffering for his (hopefully temporary) disability. He should not be able to recover if the injury was not his employer's fault (e.g. if he was careless, or simply had an accident which was no one's fault, or if he was no injured at work). That may not stop him from suing and trying to get money, but he would presumably lose the case if he can't establish some fault on the part of his employer leading to the injury.

If you have liability coverage at work, review the policy; it may cover you in this case. If it seems like it may, alert your insurer; they may either settle or provide an attorney to defend you. Otherwise, consult with a lawyer about this case, to see what your potential exposure is, decide whether you should settle or defend, and, if the answer is to fight, to actually mount a defense.


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