Metro worker charged with negligent homicide

Well, it took over 2 years but former Metrobus driver Ronald Taylor was finally indicted for the death of Bartlett Tabor.  The charge is “negligent homicide”.  He could face up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

According to this article:

“The family sued Metro for $100 million, and the transit agency settled the case in January 2010 in a confidential agreement.”

In typical Metro fashion, Taylor was rehired (although not until June 2010) with full back pay.

Too bad for Taylor that he didn’t kill a coworker.  Then he would have been protected by Workers’ Compensation (WC) rules.  Yep, it turns out that any employer that carries WC insurance is essentially immune from civil suits and criminal prosecution — as are their employees — if they kill one of their own workers.

Apparently some lives are more valuable than others.

Kill anyone other than a Metro employee = bad — possible prison sentence and/or lawsuits.

Kill a Metro employee = ok — accidents happen, back to work.

There have been several Metro employees killed on the job in the last few years — three of them from my department, Automatic Train Control (ATC), which is a small dept — less than 200 technicians and supervisors.  Many of the spouses and family members of the deceased employees received very little in the way of compensation from WC — maybe the equivalent of one year’s salary (over time).  They cannot sue or press charges against Metro or the employees responsible.  For all I know, some of them may now be bankrupt and homeless, while a passenger that slips, falls, and breaks their arm might collect a couple hundred thousand dollars.

WC is a very bad deal for most employees.  If you’re injured on the job, your health insurance will cover most medical expenses anyway (and then bill your employer or their insurance company).  The best scenario would be to have WC coverage but retain your right to sue when appropriate.

Moral of the story — if you’re going to be killed, make sure it is not by your employer.

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