A worker at a Capitol Hill pizzeria caught in a dough machine Tuesday was rescued by Seattle firefighters. At 2:54 p.m., firefighters were called to Toscana Pizzeria after a man in his 30s got his hand caught in a dough-making machine there. Firefighters worked for 15 minutes to disassemble the machine and free the man, a Fire Department spokesman said in a statement. The man suffered serious injuries to his hand and fingers and was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.
Under circumstances like these, Washington’s worker’s comp insurance generally covers the medical costs and a portion of an injured worker’s lost wages. However, L&I does not cover the entirety of the injured worker’s damages. In exchange for our worker’s comp scheme, injured workers are prohibited from bringing suit against their employers for negligence.
It is unclear from the facts available in this story whether there is a third party that may potentially be liable for the man’s injuries, but this story provides an illustration for the type of situation in which an injured worker may have a claim against a third party. Where equipment used on the job is defective and causes an injury, there is often a claim against the manufacturer of the equipment. Such a claim is not barred by worker’s comp. An injured worker who prevails on such a product liability claim would generally be entitled to recover the balance of their lost wages not paid by L&I, damages for pain and suffering, and other damages.