Workers’ compensation laws — and those laws related to workers’ compensation — can be complex, and details really matter. One case in Pennsylvania illustrates how definitions and situations not only impact the outcome of a case, but can also impact whether or not you have a case at all.
The situation began when a contracted employee, who was working for a health care staffing organization, began working in a specific hospital. He was working as a contracted worker to provide temporary on-the-job training to employees, and the assignment was to last for a month. His job duties included providing support on a new software program, and hospital leaders asked him to approach employees who looked like they were confused and provide assistance.
A few days into the assignment, the man reportedly fell and injured himself on the steps. As a result, he filed a lawsuit against the hospital. In the lawsuit, he claimed loss of consortium and alleged that the hospital was negligent in the event.
If you remember from previous blogs regarding workers’ compensation, employees who are injured on the job cannot file a lawsuit for personal injury against their employer. Instead, they are limited to the compensation afforded by the workers’ compensation plan. In this case, the question became: Was this man an employee of the hospital?
Two courts reviewing the case decided that the man was acting in a capacity as a “borrowed servant.” While he technically worked for the health care staffing firm, he was acting as and being treated as an employee at the hospital. The courts upheld a motion for dismissal from the hospital, agreeing that the hospital was protected from such suits.
Understanding where compensation for a work-related injury must come from is important. If you don’t know where to turn after a work-related injury, a legal professional with experience with workers’ compensation is a good start.
Source: Penn Record, “Reading Hospital granted statutory immunity in staffing employee’s personal injury case,” Nicholas Malfitano, April 20, 2016