Co-employee Immunity

Posted by Cal Leventhal & filed under DLP Law, Workers Compensation.


            Chris was in charge of stacking the inventory for the company he worked for. While Chris had the use of a forklift, his job still involved a lot of heavy lifting and the climbing of ladders.

At around eleven in the morning, Chris had been working hard for several hours when he started to notice chest discomfort which was getting increasingly more profound. Normally Chris would just ignore these signs but something told him that this might be a little more serious than usual.

Chris decided to go to the plant physician to voice his complaints. The plant physician gave Chris a quick exam and stated that, more than likely, it was just a case of indigestion and it was ok for Chris to go back to work.

No sooner had Chris started to climb up a ladder that the pain in his chest became severe causing Chris to collapse to the floor. Chris was raced to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a severe heart attack.

ISSUE:           Can Chris bring a lawsuit against the plant physician?

ANSWER:     No. The plant physician would be considered a co-employee of Chris’ and therefore would be immune from suit despite the negligent diagnosis that the physician had made. Had the appropriate diagnosis been made by the physician or the correct preventive care applied, Chris may well have been able to avoid the severe heart attack that he sustained, which ultimately caused extensive damage to his heart.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

 

 

About the Author

Cal Leventhal

E-mail: Cal Leventhal

Cal is a graduate of the University of Miami (magna Cum Laude) and attended Loyola and Notre Dame law schools graduating in 1976. He is admitted to the Bars of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and both state and federal trial and appellate courts situated in Pennsylvania.

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