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July 12, 2000
Child Can Sue Mother's Employer in Prenatal Accident

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In a landmark case in Washington State a child who was injured in a workplace pre-natal accident will be allowed to pursue a negligence claim against the mother's employer. A state appeals court has ruled that the state's workers comp laws do not preclude such a suit (Meyer v. Sonrise Management Inc., Wash. Ct. App., No. 25265-1-II, 6/23/00).

The accident occurred at an independently owned Burger King restaurant when the pregnant mother slipped and hit her abdomen against the "Whopper Board". Later that day the child was born prematurely with injuries that are alleged to be permanent. The child's suit claims the mother was working under unsafe conditions.

The court based its decision allowing the negligence case to be pursued saying that the child's injuries were received in the workplace independently of the mother's, and she therefore had a right to sue the company. . Furthermore, her injuries were separate from her mother's, and therefore the state's workers compensation "exclusive remedy" provisions did not apply.

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