Deliberate Intent/Mandolidis Claims

West Virginia Workplace Injury Attorney

Located in Elkins, home of the landmark Mandolidis case, Wolfe Law Firm has recovered just compensation for many employees injured by dangerous workplace conditions. Personal injury attorney Dorwin J. Wolfe has successfully handled various Mandolidis claims based on a company’s knowing exposure of workers to a high risk of injury.

Mandolidis Claims and Deliberate Intent

West Virginia workers face some of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. Many of them lose multiple limbs, and sometimes their lives, without recovering compensation. Accepting workers’ compensation gives grossly negligent employers immunity from personal injury liability in court and limits the worker’s recovery to benefits permitted under the workers’ compensation system. The employee cannot sue the employer later. Mandolidis claims provide a limited exception to this rule, allowing workers or family members to sue for injuries caused by the company’s “deliberate intent.” Deliberate intent takes away the employer’s protection from liability for damages.

Mandolidis Case Defines Deliberate Intent

Mandolidis claims are named after the sawmill worker who sued Elkins Industries after a 10-inch table saw without a safety guard mutilated his hand. In a landmark decision, the West Virginia Supreme Court distinguished between the regular and “gross” negligence common to most personal injury cases and “willful, wanton, reckless misconduct.” The court interpreted the misconduct as “deliberate intent,” even if the employer did not intend to injure the worker. The intent referred to the employer’s awareness that it was exposing the worker to a high probability of injury. Aware of this risk, the company was liable for damages beyond workers’ compensation.

Conduct Giving Rise to Mandolidis Claim

In order to recover damages, the employer must have exposed the worker to a known, dangerous workplace condition. Workplace risks carrying a high probability of injury often involve:

  • Power tools
  • Fall restraints
  • Oil spills, burns
  • Heavy machinery
  • Ungrounded wires
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Defective equipment
  • Collapsed mine shaft
  • OSHA, state law violations
Legal Requirements Showing Deliberate Intent

The West Virginia Code sets forth the elements of a Mandolidis claim. These include:

  • Existing unsafe working condition
  • Condition presenting high degree of risk
  • Strong probability of serious injury or death
  • Employer’s actual knowledge of condition and risk
  • Condition violates state or federal safety statute or rule
  • Safety standard is “well-known” in industry or business
  • Standard reflected in competent evidence of written guidelines
  • Safety standard specifically applies to particular work condition

Despite all the facts above, the employer must have nevertheless intentionally exposed the worker to the unsafe working condition, causing the employee’s injury or death. Proving these facts establishes deliberate intent, entitling injured workers and their families to additional damages, even if the company provides workers’ compensation coverage. Although its ruling has been curbed in recent years Mandolidis was the first case to expand a worker’s right to sue based on the willful misconduct of employers and still allows recovery of benefits beyond those awarded by workers’ compensation.

Call Wolfe Law Firm to Handle Your Mandolidis Claim

If you have suffered a workplace injury, contact the West Virginia personal injury lawyers at Wolfe Law Firm for help. You may be entitled to additional damages, even if you are already covered by workers’ compensation. Wolfe Law Firm understands that limited benefits are rarely enough to keep you and your family afloat. Having handled hundreds of deliberate intent claims, we have the expertise to present evidence demonstrating willful and wanton misconduct exposing workers to a high risk of injury. At Wolfe Law Firm, we know that it is hard to be out of work. That is why we are devoted to helping you obtain the maximum compensation possible under the law. Call (877) 637-5756 today for a free consultation or contact us online.