Construction can be dangerous work — especially when other workers on the construction site are not doing their job correctly or if there are dangerous defects in the equipment you are working with. Negligence can cause construction workers to be seriously injured and even impair their ability to ever work again. If you have suffered a work-related construction accident, it is important to know what your options are when it comes to seeking compensation. You may have more protection under the law than you realize. Workers’ compensation may not be your only option.
Workers’ Compensation Claims for Construction Accidents
If you are a construction worker and are injured on the job, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation. Contrary to what you may think, to receive workers’ compensation you do not have to prove that your injury was caused by another person or entity. The only requirements for workers’ compensation are that you can prove you were injured and that injury occurred in the scope and course of doing your job. And here is something else to keep in mind: your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and it is through that policy you will receive workers’ compensation.
These are the items that are typically covered by a workers’ compensation claim for a construction worker: medical expenses, lost wages, and partial/permanent disability. However, workers’ compensation does not compensate for pain and suffering, and disability payments are rather low. That is why the law allows for additional ways of seeking compensation for construction accidents, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Personal Injury Claims for Construction Accidents
In most construction jobs, you are working with vendors and subcontractors whose actions (or negligence) can lead to you being injured on the job. Individuals off-site, such as engineers or architects, might also be held responsible for your injury. In such cases, you can file a personal injury claim against the person responsible for your injury and possibly their employer as well.
For example, a vendor delivering plywood to the work site was not careful in handling their forklift; a worker’s arm got pinned between the body of the forklift and a concrete wall as they swung around. The injured worker could potentially file a personal injury claim against the forklift driver and the vendor who employed him. Perhaps you received a severe electrical shock because of shoddy work by an electrical subcontractor. Again, this person could then become the target of a personal injury lawsuit.
If you were injured because a trench you were working in collapsed, you might be able to file a personal injury claim against your employer for failing to ensure that the trench was safe and met OSHA safety guidelines before allowing anyone to work within it. Perhaps you were hit by a skid steer loader as it backed up and you had no time to get out of the way because the backup alarm had been disabled. This would be another incident where you could possibly file a personal injury claim against your employer for allowing unsafe equipment to be used on the construction site.
You would, however, need to prove that a person or an entity (e.g., a company subcontracted to do electrical work) was negligent in their duty and it resulted directly in your injury. This type of claim is not as easy to prove as a basic workers’ compensation claim.
Product Liability Lawsuits
Another potential source of injury in construction site accidents are defective products which can result in product liability lawsuits. Product liability lawsuits are another option for seeking compensation if you can demonstrate that your injury was caused by a defective product. Here are the requirements for a product liability lawsuit to be valid: the tool or equipment had a defect that caused your injury, you were using it as intended at the time of the accident, and it was unreasonably dangerous when it left the manufacturer or supplier.
Perhaps you were on a scaffolding platform when it suddenly gave way, causing you to plummet to the ground and suffer several broken bones. It had been set up correctly and was being used correctly. But had a design defect that made it very dangerous, and it was that design defect that caused it to collapse when you were on it. You have the option in cases such as this to file a product liability lawsuit against the company that designed the scaffolding, the manufacturer that produced the defective part that caused it to fail, or even the company that distributed the final product.
Workers’ compensation for construction accidents is limited to medical expenses, lost pay, and partial/full disability. Sadly, that may not amount to much compensation in light of how severe and life-altering your injuries may be. However, workers’ compensation is not your only option. You may also be able to file one or more personal injury claims and/or a product liability claims, depending on the circumstances and cause of your accident.
Contact Sacchetta & Baldino Today!
If you have been injured in a work-related construction accident and realize that you need a personal injury lawyer to obtain the full compensation you deserve, then it is time to contact Sacchetta & Baldino. We specialize in personal injury claims and will put our decades of experience to work for you so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Contact us today to speak with one of our attorneys about your personal injury case.