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Workplace injuries: Who pays compensation to temporary workers?

There seem to be some ambiguous areas related to the level of responsibility staffing agencies that place temporary workers have when on-the-job injuries occur. New York temporary workers who have suffered workplace injuries will likely face medical bills and financial hardships due to lost wages. From whom do they claim compensation? Should they file claims against the staffing agencies or the host companies -- or both?

A recent lawsuit may provide some clarity. A staffing agency placed a worker in a temporary-to-permanent position with a metal manufacturing company, where his duties included welding. After receiving operating instructions on how to drill holes into metal, the worker proceeded to do what was expected of him. Unfortunately, a drill bit became detached and struck the worker in his face, causing injuries.

The welder filed a claim for workers' compensation with the staffing agency, and he also filed a personal injury claim against the metal manufacturer. He cited alleged negligence on the parts of both entities, claiming he was provided with a drill that was defective and did not receive adequate training for the particular job. He claimed that the manufacturer was a third party that was responsible for his injury, and the company was not his employer.

The court pointed out that, upon accepting the assignment at the company, the staffing agency and the host company become a joint enterprise. The court asserted that the injured worker could choose from which of the two companies he would claim workers' compensation benefits, but he could not file a third-party claim against the other. Temporary workers who have suffered workplace injuries may want to consult with experienced New York workers' compensation attorneys who will assess the circumstances of the accidents and determine whether third-party claims are viable.

Source: businessmanagementdaily.com, "Temp can't sue both the client and the agency", June 19, 2015

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