I recently had a talk with a friend that is a divorce lawyer. He shared to me a recent case he had to handle because the client was a very good friend of his, too. He told me the story because it was also related to what I do as an employer at OSHA and because he knows I blog about occupational injuries.
In his many years as a divorce lawyer, one would think he has experienced all kinds of problems and conflicts. You would think, there will be no more new story to share because all possible scenarios have been played out. Well, that is what he thought too, until a recent case of his gave a whole new light to his work.
As a divorce attorney, he focuses on cases that involve, well, divorce. There are a lot of reasons for divorce but I am not dwelling on that because the case I am about to share is not a divorce case in its literal sense. See, my lawyer friend also handles conflicts in the workplace. You can say that he handles cases that involve the divorce of an employee from its employer or vice versa, depending on whether his client is the employee or the employer.
For this particular case, his client is the employee of a particular company. The complaint was that his employer was neglecting his duties and responsibilities towards the client, the employee, by not conducting the annual status report on the facilities of the company building. This included the inspection of offices and facilities, from roof to floor.
The client proceeded with the complaint after he was involved in an accident in the office. The roof near his office caved in and collapse. He was inside the office but it was fortunate that he was already headed out when the collapse of the roof happened. He may have been lucky to be safe, but the emotional stress and psychological impressions of the event upon him was enough to cause him to break down.
The employer tried to plea that what happened was inevitable and that it was the force of nature that caused it. However this defense was easily debunked because a company was called and asked to examine the real cause of the collapse of the roof. As confirmed, the roof was already starting to go weak yet no action was done to prevent it from happening. The evaluation of the company made a very strong case for the client.
My friend and his client has succeeded in the case and the demands have been met by the employer. He is still out from work because he has to go through stress debriefing in order for him to get back on his feet and move on from the horrible experience.
As he narrated that story to me, I also gave my insights about how claims due to occupational injury could also be made. Though right now, my friend and his client are just happy that they were able to win over the employer, who spent a lot of money to hire expensive attorneys that thankfully were not as prepared as my friend was.