An Alabama road flagger injured while directing traffic could not sue the paving contractor because she was a “special employee” and not an independent contractor, covered by workers’ compensation, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that Midsouth Paving Inc. and employee Christopher Nivert should have been immune from suit because the injuries suffered by traffic flagger Yvonne Mason should have fallen under the exclusive remedies provisions of the state Workers’ Compensation Act.
Mason applied to staffing agency PeopleReady Inc. to work as a Midsouth flagger. On 13 August 2020, she suffered serious leg injuries after being accidentally hit by a vehicle driven by Mr Nivert.
Mason underwent multiple surgeries and was hospitalized and in a rehabilitation facility for more than a month.
In November 2020, Mason filed a lawsuit against Midsouth and Mr. Nivert, but the company argued that it was immune from suit because of an exclusive action for workers.
Mason claimed she believed she was employed by PeopleReady, the staffing agency, and that she was an independent contractor for Midsouth.
A trial court denied a defense motion for summary judgment in August 2022, but the state Supreme Court on appeal last week ruled that summary judgment was appropriate because Ms. Mason was a “special employee”; of Midsouth entitled to compensatory benefits and the suit should have been barred.