05282017Headline:

Fairfax, Leesburg & Loudoun, Virginia

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Doug Landau
Doug Landau
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 610

Allow lawsuits for car crashes caused by co-workers or bosses

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The Virginia Workers Compensation law generally does not allow lawsuits between co-workers, and it definitely protects employers from any responsibility for workplace injury claims, except in the case of sexual assaults. However, Connecticut law allows lawsuits against coworkers for automobile related claims, and against the employer for willful and wanton misconduct, or where the negligence is substantially certain to cause an injury. While these cases are difficult to win, the law at least allows these "wrongs" to have a "remedy. For example, Connecticut allows one worker to sue another for injuries sustained from reckless driving. Bowrys v. Santanella, 39 Conn. Sup. 102, 470 A.2d 1245 (1983). Virginia law would not allow such a case to proceed. A court in this Commonwealth would rule that workers comp was the disabled employee’s only legal remedy.

Sec. 31-293a of the Connecticut Code (the Workers’ Compensation Act as amended to January 1, 2009), notes the exceptions to the general rule that there is no right against fellow employee:

"…unless such wrong was wilful or malicious or the action is based on the fellow employee’s negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle…’

Virginia law should be amended to allow such cases, as the operators of motor vehicles have car, truck or motorcycle insurance, the cost of the accident would be more efficiently distributed and injured workers would be able to get the same "full recovery: for the harms and losses caused by the negligent defendant driver that victims who are not co-workers wold receive.