Can I sue if I worked under the table for a friend and was hurt in an accident? 41 Answers as of May 28, 2013I was in an accident which happened in a grave quarry. I was the passenger in an old '57 Studabaker dump truck. We lost the brakes in the truck approx. 100 yard down a steep hill exiting the pit. We could not down shift the truck and it began to run away. There was no runaway ramp or spot to ditch the truck and our only choice was to jump from the truck, which I did, hitting the road at approximately 35 mph. I received multiple abrasions to my legs, arms and back and have now a bad left knee which has been found to be a partial tear of a ligament and I can not work for the near future, per orthopedic doctor. The driver, a friend and coworker was killed as he jumped,(I believe), and was run over by the back tires of the truck. I was working under the table for my friend at this time. He has insurance on the truck and they are paying my medical bills. I would like to know if I have a case for a settlement or a lawsuit.
Gary L. Platt, Attorney at Law | Gary Platt
Absolutely you have a case, which is why the insurance company insuring the truck has been paying your bills. You need to consult a lawyer immediately to handle this claim for you so you can obtain all the compensation to which you are entitled. Do not try to settle the case by yourself.
Answer Applies to: California
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Not completely clear. Your "friend" is the boss who paid you under the table and owned the truck and he has insurance on the truck? Is that all correct? I don't think it matters how you were paid. If your case is a proper worker comp case it is a proper case. if you were injured in the course and scope of your work you should be handled as a comp claim. What about your friends widow or family? Did they bring a death claim? They should have.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
You may have a claim for your injuries against the owner/driver of the truck. To have a claim you would have to show you suffered a serous impairment of a bodily function, permanent serious disfigurement or death. Your injuries appear to meet the threshold of a serious impairment of a bodily function. Since you were a passenger in the truck the only question would be what was your knowledge of the truck when you got in. If you knew the truck was in bad shape, there may be a partial defense of contributory negligence on your part as you put yourself in the dangerous situation. You should have all of the facts reviewed by a personal injury attorney who can better advise as to any possible claims.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
I don't think that working under the table prohibits you from bringing an action. However, that fact may limit your damages and hurt your credibiltiy. If you claim loss of earning capacity, it will be hard to prove that you were earning money, because there will be no record of it. Also, if the case goes before a jury, they will dislike you for not paying taxes on your income. That, in turn, will hurt your lawyer's negotiating position.
Answer Applies to: New York
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
It is not clear. If he had more than 5 employees, you may have a workers compensation claim. Since he probably has no workers compensation insurance, you are better off if you can sue him or the driver for negligence (the vehicle insurance will cover both). However, there are limits to when you can sue your employer or coworker for negligence. You need to have an attorney look into it.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
This is a bit tricky because you were "working under the table," which is illegal. However, if the truck is paying your medical bills, this means they do not consider it a "worker's compensation" situation. Arguably, you are not an employee if you are not paid on the books. In that case, you would be able to make a claim for your injuries. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately for a free consultation. There are time limitations to act, so you should call now.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
You have an excellent case as does the Estate of the individual that was killed. Each employer in Michigan must carry Worker's Compensation insurance on Cash employees as well as Check employees. The failure to carry Worker's Compensation will make the employer responsible for all medical bills as well as the pain and suffering. We just settled a similar case for an employee who fell off a roof.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
I am so sorry this happened to you. It must have been very frightening. It is possible you have two claims. From the facts you have given me it sounds as if you have a significant injury claim which you can bring with the insurance company covering the truck. It is also possible if your friend employer had any liability insurance covering his business, you can establish a claim with them as well. Arizona allows you to "stack" insurance policies, meaning if there are two insurance policies which may be responsible for an injury and if an injured person is not fully compensated by one policy, that injured person can also bring a claim against the second policy. I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury and seek a consultation. These are difficult claims to handle on your own, especially when you are injured. My firm handles personal injury claims through out Arizona, I would be happy to help if you have additional questions or need assistance. It is also possible you have a worker's compensation claim, no matter how you were being paid. To have a valid claim it requires a showing that you were an actual "employee" of your friend's business and not an "independent contractor". This can sometimes be challenging. If you would like to pursue a worker's compensation claim, you should contact an attorney specializing in worker's compensation to further explore this issue. If your friend does not carry worker's compensation insurance, you are still entitled to compensation but it could be very sticky and ugly for your friend and his business. I would suggest you contact a worker's compensation attorney first and discuss all your options and ramifications.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
Simple answer is yes. Your friend has some serious issues as worker's comp won't cover this accident. He may also have problems with them as it sounds like he was less than honest on his application and paperwork with the worker's comp. There may also be problems with the State of Nevada and IRS.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Matthew D Kaplan LLC | Matthew D Kaplan
I am sorry to read about the loss of your friend. My initial response is that yes you can sue. The real issue is does the insurance policy somehow preclude you from recovery because you were working at the time. Really only way to find out is have an attorney get a copy of the policy and review it.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Lehner & Rodrigues | Michael A Lehner
Because you were working at the time of the accident you would normally be entitled to workers compensation benefits. If your employer purchased workers compensation insurance in compliance with the law he would be immune from tort liability as would your co-worker. In that event your compensation would be limited to the schedule provided for injured workers. If your employer did not provide workers compensation insurance he cannot claim the statutory immunity and you would have a tort claim against him and against the co-worker who was driving the car. The insurance on the vehicle would cover the drivers liability. You have not said who owned the car but if it is the employers car he may have liability for providing you a car which was not safe to operate. In addition, even though your employer did not provide workers compensation insurance you would nevertheless be entitled to workers benefits through the state sponsored program for non-complying employers.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Pivotal Law Group, PLLC | Christopher L. Thayer
If you were an employee, then this most likely would be an L&I claim. However, it sounds like at best you might have been an independent contractor. You likely have a claim against the owner of the truck and/or the driver, especially if it can be shown that there was poor maintenance. There may be other insurance available, or other potentially liable parties, depending on a variety of factors. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.
Answer Applies to: Washington