The construction industry is inherently dangerous and, not surprisingly, it sees its fair share of accidents. OSHA even dubbed falls, electrocutions, struck by object, and caught-in/between, the “fatal four” of the industry given how many deaths arise from these types of accidents.
Fortunately, workers injured on the job have recourse to file for workers’ compensation, and could even get damages via a third-party claim too.
Who pays for my injuries from a construction accident?
Workers’ compensation. If the worker suffered his injuries within the course of employment, then he is eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers can get disability benefits, medical treatment benefits, and other benefits depending on the state.
These benefits are available regardless of fault and bar lawsuits against the employer, even if the employer or a co-worker caused the accident.
However, some employers or their insurers argue that an employee was not acting within the scope of his employment when he was injured. This requires establishing that the injury occurred on the job, and an attorney can help you do this.
Third-party claims. But given the nature of the construction industry, workers are often near or working with employees from other contractors. If another contractor (or one of its employees) injured the employee, then he can file a third-party claim against that liable party.
A third-party claim can seek damages like most other personal injury claims, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
A worker needs to establish that a third-party was negligent. He must prove:
- The defendant owed him a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty.
- The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- The injuries caused tangible damages.
In addition to other contractors, third parties that could be liable for a construction worker’s injury include product or equipment manufacturers and jobsite owners.
Construction workers also must use heavy and dangerous machinery. If that machinery is faulty or malfunctions, then the manufacturer could be liable in a third-party claim. If a worker attempts to prove that a defective product caused his injuries, he may use strict product liability laws (laws differ by state) to establish liability. He must prove that he used the product correctly and the product caused his injuries.
Should I hire an attorney if I suffered injuries in a construction accident?
Construction accident injuries can be serious, life threatening, or even fatal. The injuries can range from mild temporary inconveniences to permanent total disabilities that require full-time care. An attorney can help you file a workers’ compensation claim and prove negligence or product liability, especially in complex cases with multiple defendants.
There are strict timelines for pursuing a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury action, depending on the state. And there are pressing needs for evidence gathering. Having the advice and counsel of a legal professional can help the injured party exercise his rights under all of these avenues of recovering compensation.
Let Primerus help you find a construction accident lawyer in your area.