Although most of Ontario’s workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, an employer’s gross negligence might give grounds for seeking additional damage recovery. An example is a case in which a worker suffered severe brain injuries in another province. Although the court fined the contractor and the construction company $40,000 each for noncompliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the victim will not benefit from those fines. In fact, the judge said no amount of compensation could make up for the case’s tragedy.
Court documents showed that the 33-year-old worker fell from a mobile work platform in Sept. 2019. Facts about the case included the victim’s inexperience and the lack of safety training as well as the employer’s failure to provide personal protective equipment to arrest a fall. Furthermore, the work platform had no safeguards or railings to prevent falls.
Within the first three months of his employment, the man was knocked off the platform, causing him to fall 5.5 metres to the concrete floor below. The worker suffered severe brain injuries, and he was rushed to a hospital, where he remains to this day. His injuries left him in a vegetative state and totally disabled.
Although the judge determined that a portion of the fines will be used to provide better educational and safety programs on fall protection, it would be too late to benefit this worker. Anyone in Ontario who suffers work-related brain injuries due to an employer’s gross negligence might have grounds to pursue recovery of past and future damages under the province’s personal injury laws. An Ontario lawyer with exceptional skills in fighting for brain injury victims’ rights would be the most appropriate person from whom to seek advocacy.