A self-employed man works on assignment for a third party client. There is a fire in the hall of the building where the man is working for that client. Both the man and the client’s own employees sustain burn injuries as a result of the fire. The liability insurer on behalf of the client is willing to cover damages sustained by the client’s own employees but declines to cover the man’s damages. Their argument is that their insured did not breach any work regulations with respect to the man. Additionally, they point out that there is no labour contract between the man and the client. The insurance company also claims that the man is partly injured through his own negligence and so he should anyway bear part of the costs of his injury himself.
In this case, it is not labour law, but the law of torts that is of primary importance. Liability law in this case will be influenced and supplemented by principles flowing from labour law. The precise nature of that supplementation and the balance of the two areas of law can only be determined by an expert advocate. As far as the man’s own negligence goes, if the man is truly partially responsible for his own injuries, he should use his own disability insurance to first compensate the part of the damages that he has to bear himself. The man should not allow such benefit to be deducted from any settlement amount before using such benefit to cover damages that remain for his own account. That will only cost him money needlessly.
A personal injury case may seem simple at first glance. You will only discover all the complexities – and recover the maximum damages – when you hire a true legal expert, one who is able to see the difficulties before they become problems or cost you needless aggravation and money. Expertise is of prime importance when you choose your representation and is always in your best interest. Don’t sell yourself short. Choose your advocate wisely.