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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    10

    Question Superintendent of Job Broke My Wrist, I Was Fired

    My question involves workers compensation law for the state of: North Dakota

    Longstory short at the bottom.

    Matter at hand:
    I know I should've sought some legal assistance, but I would've been unable to pay the lawyer fee's as I was 18 at the time, it is now 2 years since this incident. I can't do anything now, but I'm wondering what may have possibly happened if I had.

    I had been in the construction industry since the age of 15, and knew my way around a job site. My first day on this particular site was hell, and everyday thereafter.
    It was approximately 9:30 A.M. when we (Father, Another Work, and myself) were instructed to cut out a wall at an ACS factory to proceed with the task at hand.
    There was an excavator digging on the other side of the wall, which the ceiling was removed and both sides cut, leaving only the bottom to cut. There were two temp supports at the top of the wall, crudely fashioned. The excavator operator kept nudging the wall (accidently) and ended up knocking down one support.
    We climbed out of the hole, and told him to stop operating until we finished cutting the wall, that he was endangering us.

    Around that time it was break, we took our break then proceeded back to work to finish cutting the wall. The superintendent came out and asked why the operator wasn't doing his job, cursing like a sailor of course. We told him why, which he dismissed and then proceeded to operate. We got out of the hole, got our asses chewed, and sent back into the hole. We continued cutting the wall and he kept digging. He nudged the wall one to many times and ended up break a large piece off (~80lbs) which then came crashing down onto my wrist while I was cutting. The saw obviously came flying out, endangering the lives of the other 2 people down there, as well as myself.

    I was taken to the hospital, this happened there-http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115862&p=495869#post495869

    Anyway, I was put on light duty and was allowed to keep working.
    The superintendent didn't follow by the light duty requirements of the doctor's order and had me doing things that put me in intense pain. I continued to do so, in order to keep my job. Three weeks later, after my wrist had surprisingly healed, I was brought into the office to sign papers saying that I was being laid off. It was utter bullshit, but I signed the papers anyway. I got a copy of those papers in the mail a couple weeks later. Only these papers said I was fired, not laid off. I was unable to collect unemployment because of that.

    I apologize for the longevity of this matter.

    Short story:
    The superintendent of a jobsite, broke my wrist and endangered the lives of 3 people.I was put on light duty (doctor's orders) but was "forced" to do regular work as I would otherwise, causing me great pain. I did so in order to keep my job.
    After my wrist had somehow healed, I was brought into the office to sign papers of my release-They were laying me off, because of my inability to perform work to their standards. I then received a copy of the papers I had signed, only one slight difference-
    The copy I received said I was terminated. Which then did not allow me to collect unemployment.

    I did not misread the papers I signed, they were changed.
    What should I have done in this situation, and what may have been the (possible) outcome?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Superintendent of Job Broke My Wrist, I Was Fired

    well, to start with, you should have refused to work in an unsafe environment. Second, I doubt there is any state in the country where a 15 yo can legally work in construction or around power equipment. Could be wrong but I suspect I'm not.

    The copy I received said I was terminated. Which then did not allow me to collect unemployment.
    that wasn't the reason. All jobs end in terminations. It's why there was a termination that makes the difference. Even being "laid off" is a termination. You still file for UI and dispute the employers claims if you have to. The UI adjudicator will make the final decision.

    Was OSHA contacted? They should have been. Was there an incident report filled out?

    and a broken wrist does not heal in 3 weeks unless Jesus himself has come down and laid hands upon you.

    You should have contacted a lawyer given all the other errors you made.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Superintendent of Job Broke My Wrist, I Was Fired

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    well, to start with, you should have refused to work in an unsafe environment. Second, I doubt there is any state in the country where a 15 yo can legally work in construction or around power equipment. Could be wrong but I suspect I'm not.

    that wasn't the reason. All jobs end in terminations. It's why there was a termination that makes the difference. Even being "laid off" is a termination. You still file for UI and dispute the employers claims if you have to. The UI adjudicator will make the final decision.

    Was OSHA contacted? They should have been. Was there an incident report filled out?

    and a broken wrist does not heal in 3 weeks unless Jesus himself has come down and laid hands upon you.

    You should have contacted a lawyer given all the other errors you made.
    To be honest whether or not OSHA was contacted, I do not know. I presume not since I never had any form of contact with a member of OSHA. I was "green" under a more formal companies rules and guidelines.

    I was 18 at the time, I had worked with my father at his personally owned company from 15-17.

    I've always been a faster healer than the vast majority of people, it was clearly broken. Not severely broken.

    And to your first statement, we did refuse. Which would have cost us our jobs. Foolish sure, but we were more concerned about our financial situations at hand than safety.
    Safety is everyone's job, but a good supervisor/superintendent should oversee the safety of his workers, not force them into dangerous situations threatening them with their jobs.

    I'm merely seeking advice, not criticism. Thank you for your input regardless.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Superintendent of Job Broke My Wrist, I Was Fired

    xSoFx;495894]

    And to your first statement, we did refuse. Which would have cost us our jobs. Foolish sure, but we were more concerned about our financial situations at hand than safety.
    I guess you chose to continue on knowing it was unsafe. It's better to be unemployed and alive with the possibility of a wrongful termination suit than dead with your heirs getting that last paycheck, at least in my mind.


    Safety is everyone's job, but a good supervisor/superintendent should oversee the safety of his workers, not force them into dangerous situations threatening them with their jobs.
    absolutely but ultimately, it is up to you. If you knew it was unsafe, you should have refused to do the work. I can tell you that from what you described, OSHA would have not allowed the work and likely cited the employer if they saw the violation.

    I'm merely seeking advice, not criticism. Thank you for your input regardless
    criticism? You made a multitude of poor decisions. As such, it can be presumed you were likely going to continue on in similar fashion. Due to that, you hiring a lawyer would have been the best action for you to take. It isn't a criticism but a realistic review of the situation.

    It is very possible you could have obtained legal assistance that would either work on a contingency or be able to seek payment from the employer. Additionally, the states Worker's Comp department does what they do for free (well, it isn't really free bacause they are paid with your taxes but I'm sure you understand the point)


    I still have doubts you were legally allowed to work when you were under 18. I haven't checked and am not attempting to start an argument about it but I know of no such exception that would allow a minor to work in a hazardous industry. Since that was several years ago, it really doesn't matter at this point anyway.

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