Injured employee cannot sue general contractor who pays comp benefits for uninsured subcontractor-employer
Manual Martinez-Alvarado was injured while roofing a project run by J.D. Pollard, Inc., as the General Contractor. Pollard had hired a series of sub-contractor roofers who did not carry workers compensation coverage; as a result, as the "principal" of an uninsured injured worker, it was obligated to substitute in for the employer to pay Martinez-Alvarado's workers compensation benefits. In the workers compensation claims process, the worker and Pollard stipulated that Pollard had become Martinez-Alvarado's statutory "employer."The injured worker then filed a negligence action against Pollard, as the general contractor, for failing to maintain a safe work site. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's holding that Martinez-Alvarado's exclusive remedy against Pollard was workers compensation because Pollard now stood in the shoes of the worker's uninsured employer and gained immunity from negligence as a result.