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Workers' Compensation Disclaimer may prevent an employee's claim

A Workers' Compensation Disclaimer may have barred an employee of a Pennsylvania security company from collecting upon a negligence claim against a client of the company. The Workers' Compensation Disclaimer that the employee signed stated that she would not be able to make a claim or lawsuit against any third-party clients in the event that she was injured on the job. This disclaimer is meant to protect clients of the company from being sued by an employee of the security company.

The employee slipped on either snow or ice while at a client's site and injured herself. She then proceeded to put in a workers' compensation claim, and she filed a negligence claim against the client based on the client's failure to create a safe environment.

While the employee was able to successfully collect benefits on her workers' compensation claim, both the trial court and the superior court ruled that she cannot file a negligence claim against the client due to the Workers' Compensation Disclaimer that she signed. The employee then appealed with the Pennsylvanian Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the decision.

Employees need to be extremely careful about the contracts that they sign when beginning employment. The Workers' Compensation Disclaimer is common with companies that need to send their employees to on-site locations, and it makes it so that the worker cannot direct claims towards their clients in the event of workplace injury. However, it is important to note that the disclaimer does not stop employees from making workers' compensation claims nor from collecting benefits based on them. Workers' compensation attorneys and attorneys experienced in employment law may be able to aid those who wish to open claims of negligence or dispute workers' compensation claims. They might also help employees determine what is prevented by their contract.

Source: HR.BLR, "Workers' comp: did disclaimer bar Pennsylvania employee's claims?", May 30, 2013

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