On Monday, February 10th, at least 15 people were injured when an
explosion occurred at the New Hampshire Ball Bearings factory on Route 202 in Peterborough.
While investigations into the precise cause of the explosion are still
ongoing, the incident can remind employers and employees throughout the
country about the serious risks workers face on the job. Should it be
discovered that this event – like many explosions and industrial
accidents – was caused by the failures or safety violations of the
company, injured employees may have the right to recover compensation
for their damages.
Injured in an explosion? Call 603-635-4099 to discuss your case.
What rights do injured workers have to compensation?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an explosion or
workplace accident, New Hampshire Attorney Francis Murphy in the Manchester office of Shaheen
& Gordon can answer your questions. The following information can
provide your with a better understand of workers' rights after explosions.
Under New Hampshire Law, there are four benefits available to an injured worker:
Weekly Disability Benefits. Total disability benefits (60% of your average weekly wage) are available
as long as you do not have a work release and are unable to work due to
your injury. Partial disability benefits (60% of the difference between
what you can earn and your average weekly wage) are available when either
you are working or you are not working, but have a work capacity. Once
you are on partial disability benefits, your benefits are capped at 262
Permanent Impairment Award. Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your physician determines
the percentage of your permanent impairment under the A.M.A. Guides to
the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. This percentage is multiplied
by the number of weeks for the appropriate body part, and, then your compensation
rate. This is your permanent impairment award.
Vocational Assistance. If you are unable to return to your prior job due to physical limitations
from your injury, then a counselor may provide services, including job
placement, as may be reasonably necessary to return you to suitable employment.
Medical expenses. The insurance carrier's legal obligation to pay and remain responsible
for reasonable medical care required and necessitated by your injury cannot
be settled or waived.
As a condition of receiving
workers' compensation benefits on a no-fault basis, the law states that the injured worker cannot
sue his employer or a co-employee.
Are there other remedies available to injured workers besides rights under
the workers' compensation law of New Hampshire?
Yes, the workers' compensation law allows an injured worker to bring
a civil claim and lawsuit against any other party who may have contributed
to cause his or her injury. These are known as third party claims.
Such a third party claim requires a showing that the other party was somehow negligent.
A third party claim could be brought, for example, against a product manufacturer
if a defective product or chemical somehow led to the explosion. If an
outside vendor supplied a defective product or service that led to the
explosion, that outside vendor could be the subject of a third party claim.
Compensation under a third party claim is not as limited as are the benefits
under the law of workers' compensation. For example the third party
claim allows for compensation for pain and suffering and disfigurement
and full lost wages (not 60%) past, present and future. Third party claims
require thorough investigation to identify culpable parties.
If you or your loved one has recently been injured in an explosion or work-related
accident and would like more information about your right to compensation,
call (603) 635-4099.