1. Gringoamericano
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    Gringoamericano New Member

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    Does this sound like a realistic case to get sued over (and lose)?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Gringoamericano, Dec 22, 2011.

    In this book I'm writing, the main character runs some kind of factory, and he loses a lot of money because he was sued by one of his employees over an injury. I was thinking that the employee either tripped over a wire and broke something, or general inattentiveness caused his hand to get cut off.
     
  2. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    It's plausible, but probably more plausible that the plaintiff would win if the injury weren't his fault at all, through general inattentiveness or anything else. Best bet might be a machine malfunctioning. But I like the hand cut off part.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    His business would likely have liability insurance to cover this. In many places, the business might even be required to have it.
     
  4. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    This depends on whether the story happens in America or not. If there's a jury in the court, a skilled lawyer could convince the jury the accident was really the owner's fault. I don't know if you've seen the film The Machinist, but there's a scene where a guys hand gets cut off and the factory agrees to a settlement to keep him from suing. Okay, movies aren't always realistic, but I think a lawsuit could happen. In your story, is the main character actually guilty in some way(for example neglecting safety regulations, in which case a lawsuit could definitely happen) or is he wrongly convicted? Either way, it sounds like an interesting premise.
     
  5. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Workplaces are supposed to be designed so that momentary carelessness won't cause serious injury. I mean, sure the person should be careful, but few people can be careful 8 hours straight every day. If you have something that is a foreseeable hazard, and the employer could have done something to make it safer, then he's liable.

    Now, usually it doesn't go to court. The employee just gets paid worker's compensation. (My Mom got worker's compensation once, when she slipped on a patch of ice in front of her workplace and broke her wrist.) But if the employer decides he wants to try to get out of paying, or the employee thinks the compensation isn't enough, there would be grounds for a court case.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    can't give a valid answer without more info...

    where and when is this taking place?
    how large a factory is it?
    why doesn't the owner have liability insurance?
     
  7. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    At a factory near where I live, a man was inattentive, and got his arm pulled off by machinery.

    The lesson I learned in the preceding legal case: if the employer can prove that his employee was negligent, then the employee is at fault. If, however, the employee is able to prove that he is not negligent and was not violating factory regulations, he can win the lawsuit.
     
  8. DeAnnaClaudette
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    DeAnnaClaudette Member

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    But then what if the insurance company raised his premiums so high that he couldn't afford to stay open? This is one of those things that you have to have a lot of legal knowledge of to represent accurately, so I always shy away from it. lol.
     
  9. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    As others have pointed out, it all depends on where this is happening because the legal system is different in different countries. You would need to thoroughly research the legal system to determine exacty what is likely to happen in the specific circumstances of your story, but I think it is generally plausible that a bad enough industrial accident could result in such legal and financial difficulty that it could shut a business down, especially if it went to court and then the business would be liable to pay their legal costs as well as compensation. that could run into hundreds of thousands...
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    these days, more likely millions!
     
  11. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    Reminds me of the woman who got burned by her coffee and (successfully) sued McDonald's.
     
  12. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    My Mom (a lawyer) says it sounds realistic, though she recommends you make the employee paralyzed as that would be worth more money than an amputation.
     
  13. DeAnnaClaudette
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    DeAnnaClaudette Member

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    You should watch the Hot Coffee documentary. Was very eye opening. The way that the story was portrayed in the media, and the way that it actually happened is like night and day.
     
  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the US, the company would have workers compensation coverage (exception: Texas). There may be fines involved if there were negligence, but the employee wouldn't be able to sue the company unless the company contested the injury. It can get very complicated in those cases.
     
  15. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    i say that your mc would lose i mean atlot of people have sued from some pretty stupid reasons and won. at least this reason makes since
     
  16. mazg
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    mazg New Member

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    Add a simple twist that puts the factory at fault but does not reflect poorly on the mc personally; a safety inspection was missed, the worker missed his break because of a deadline (and worked too many hours in a shift), something to do with the union, employee wasn't properly trained or supervised.
     

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