As a worker, you have the right to expect from your employer a work environment that is reasonably safe and free from overtly hazardous conditions. If you sustained an injury on the job, you probably know that you can bring a lawsuit against your employer for negligence and personal injury. But what happens if you were also negligent to some degree, and you were partly responsible for your own injury? Will that ruin your chances at a successful lawsuit against your employer?
Ohio contributory negligence law
The Ohio Revised Code has a provision that deals with an employee’s own role in their workplace injury. The good news is that, even if you were negligent, the law does not bar you from bringing a lawsuit against your employer if your employer was also negligent.
Contributory negligence is a legal principle in which a court will compare your level of negligence with your employer’s level of negligence. They will then lower the amount you can recover from your employer in proportion to your level of responsibility for your own injury.
In other words, if you are 20% at fault for your injury and your employer is 80% at fault, you will only be able to recover 80% of the money damages you ask for in your lawsuit if you win.
Ohio law also specifies that contributory negligence doesn’t apply when the employee’s injury is the result of the employer violating a state or federal law put in place for employee safety. This means that, even if you were negligent, if your injury was caused by your employer’s violation of a safety law, your negligence won’t diminish the amount of your recovery.
Your duty to report
It’s important to note that some employees have a duty to report violations of law to their employers if they’re aware of the violation and their employer isn’t. If your employment duties include a duty to report violations of safety laws, and you don’t do so, and it results in your injury, that could hurt your chances of receiving a recovery.
Suffering an injury on the job can be devastating, both to you and to your family. A lawsuit against your employer might bring you the financial resources you need to get your life back on track after your injury.