In West Virginia, as a general rule if you are injured on the job and accept benefits from workers’ compensation, you forfeit your right to sue your employer for damages. However there is an exception to this general rule, which is often called a “Mandolidis” or “deliberate intent” case. Under West Virginia Code § 23-4-2, employers can lose their immunity from lawsuit if the injured employee can prove that the injury sustained was the result of “deliberate intention” by the employer.
The deliberate intention standard can be satisfied in one of two ways. First, you can satisfy this standard if you can prove the employer against whom liability is being asserted acted consciously and purposely to produce the injury or death to the employee. The other way to satisfy the deliberate intention standard is by meeting a five-part test, which includes proving the following:
1. An unsafe working condition with a high risk of causing injury actually existed in the workplace.
2. The employer knew of the existence of this unsafe working condition and its high risk of causing injury.
3. The unsafe working condition violated a state or federal safety regulation or a commonly accepted regulation in the industry of the employer.
4. The employer nevertheless exposed the employee to the unsafe working condition.
5. The employee suffered a serious injury or death.
If you have been injured on the job in West Virginia and have accepted benefits from workers’ compensation, it is not going to be easy to bring a lawsuit against your employer for damages. The workers’ compensation laws in West Virginia are designed to protect employers against lawsuits by injured employees. Deliberate intent cases are hard prove and even harder to win.
If you think that you do have a deliberate intent case against your employer or former employer, though, you should contact a personal injury attorney that has experience with workers’ compensation law and more specifically, deliberate intent cases. They will be able to better explain the law to you and tell you whether or not you have a legitimate case.