News & Events

Workplace Injury Liability Beyond a Worker’s Compensation Claim: What Injured Workers Need to Know

Posted: July 11, 2024

When workers suffer injuries on the job that require medical care, their first instinct is typically to submit a worker’s compensation claim. However, injured workers have multiple legal options to explore for recovering compensation after a workplace accident. In some situations, an injured employee can also make a personal injury claim. These include incidents where a workplace injury was caused by the negligence of a third party, such as an independent contractor, or by a defective tool or piece of equipment.


Injured workers in South Carolina, as well as in other states, have the right to file a third-party lawsuit in addition to filing for and collecting worker’s compensation. This two-pronged approach is beneficial, as financial relief via worker’s compensation (typically two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to a maximum recovery) is delivered fairly quickly. Meanwhile, pursuing a third-party lawsuit can take longer—but could maximize the recovery of damages in your case to better compensate you for your losses.

Workplace injury cases can be complex, as they require proving the third party’s negligence. The specific timeline for recovery depends on factors, including details of your case and the amount of evidence available. For this reason, it is critical you swiftly enlist the support of an experienced work injury lawyer like Yarborough Applegate. Our caring and dedicated job injury attorneys are committed to digging deep and leaving no stone unturned in your pursuit of full justice. 


Yarborough Applegate’s work injury attorneys have fiercely fought for injured workers from across a broad range of industries, including construction workers, day laborers, contract workers, industrial employees, landscapers, maritime workers, and more. We are proud to have a strong track record when it comes to holding companies and organizations accountable for their role in creating or contributing to unsafe work environments.

Holding a Utility Company Responsible for Negligence 

A 41-year-old landscaper was trimming a palm tree in Edisto Island when a South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G)—now Dominion Energy—13,800-volt overhead power line fatally electrocuted him. We brought suit against the power company on behalf of his family. Following a week-long trial, in an $18.9 million verdict the jury determined SCE&G was negligent in failing to keep its power line clear from adjacent trees and vegetation. Significantly, prior to trial, the power company had refused to offer anything close to fair compensation for the family’s loss.  

Taking on “Big Concrete” After Death of Contract Worker

Having built a career in elevator repair maintenance, Lennox Hickson was called to the Holcim cement plant in Holly Hill, South Carolina, for a job. Shortly after he began work atop the elevator cab, a Holcim employee called the elevator to a lower floor. The unexpected downward descent caused Hinckson to suffer catastrophic crush injuries and ultimately to fall approximately 60 feet. He died almost instantaneously. 

Litigating against “Big Concrete” proved to be a challenge—but one our team at Yarborough Applegate was ready for, and we ultimately secured a $20 million settlement for Hickson’s estate. Our investigation revealed Holcim had a poor safety record with respect to Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) fines and regulations, and that this plant’s personnel failed to abide by their third-party contractor safety policies and procedures that would have ensured a safe workplace for Hinckson. Our diligent pursuit of internal corporate investigation records and communications following the incident and skillful cross-examination during dozens of employee depositions helped us uncover the information needed to achieve this landmark result.

Securing Justice for Injured Louisiana Worker

Our client, Meylin Castro, was a temporary construction laborer who fell 20 feet through a dangerous open end at the edge of a scaffold on her first day on an asbestos abatement project at a church in Denham Springs, Louisiana. The unmarked and unguarded area had been covered by a sheet of polyethylene plastic to create a “containment area” for the asbestos work. Castro’s fall caused a traumatic brain injury and rendered her a paraplegic, with past and future medical expenses totaling in the millions of dollars.

The case was filed against three entities and their insurers: Sunbelt Rentals Scaffold Services (the company that built the scaffold), 1 Priority Environmental Services (the asbestos contractor and our client’s employer), and First United Methodist Church of Denham Springs, Louisiana (the church where the incident occurred). Days before the case’s trial was set to begin in Baton Rouge, we secured a $15.75 million settlement for our client.

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