Generally speaking, if you are injured while working a construction job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including payment of medical expenses and some compensation for lost income. Workers’ compensation benefits typically prohibit a construction worker from suing their employer; however, a workers’ compensation claim only requires the employee to show an injury occurred while on the job. There are certain circumstances, though, where other parties may be liable for construction injuries, which may result in the ability to file a third-party lawsuit in conjunction with a workers’ compensation claim. Some of the most common accidents on a project site are caused by falling from heights (scaffolding, rooftops, ladders) and being struck by a falling load or object.
Construction Injury Liability: Who is Responsible?
Liability in a third-party construction injury lawsuit may include the construction site owner, the general contractor, a sub-contractor, the manufacturer of faulty equipment and any other third-party that contributed to the injury due to negligence or gross misconduct. An important factor in construction injury liability for site owners and contractors is the degree of control that they have in a particular environment. The degree of control the construction site owner and contractors have over the premises and the work being conducted help determine if, and to what extent, they may be responsible for an injury that occurs on a construction site and under their supervision.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), both general contractors and sub-contractors must provide construction workers with a reasonably safe working environment and must warn workers of any hazards inherent in the job. Additionally, general contractors and sub-contractors must ensure all work is performed in a safe manner and that all safety regulations are being followed. On some construction job sites, the architects and engineers may also have a duty to observe the progress of the job and to ensure compliance with relevant code regulations. Apart from site owners and contractors, equipment manufacturers may also be held liable if they produce a faulty product that causes or contributes to the injury, or do not provide the proper labeling instructions required to use a product or operate a machine safely.
Construction Injury Liability: Receiving Compensation from a Third-Party
If a construction accident causes injuries due to third-party negligence or gross misconduct, it is important to document everything that may be a factor in a claim, such as medical records, the construction site, injury accident location, witness statements, photographic evidence and other information. This information is crucial in substantiating a construction injury claim, and is critically important for a construction injury attorney that are usually required to help assist with the legal matters. The types of third-party lawsuits pertaining to a construction accident include the following:
Construction Injury Lawsuit
If the negligence or gross misconduct of a third-party was directly responsible for a construction-related injury, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in conjunction with a workers’ compensation claim. You must show the other party was responsible for your basic care, that they failed in providing the basic elements to ensure safety and that the injury was directly caused by their negligence or gross misconduct
Product Liability Lawsuit
If an injury was caused by a defective or improperly labeled product, you may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer and possibly others involved in the distribution of the product or machine. For example, if you were on a very tall ladder that collapsed due to a defect in its design or construction, you may be able to recover compensation from the manufacturer, the retailer and/or the wholesaler for your related injuries.
Fatal Construction Injury & Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If someone is fatally injured on a construction job due to the negligence or gross misconduct of a person or entity, the family of the construction worker may be able to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one. Depending on the circumstances, multiple lawsuits could be filed simultaneously. For example, if a construction worker received fatal injuries due to a defective product, which was knowingly brought onto the site by the contractor, then the family may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit, a product liability lawsuit and a personal injury lawsuit.
Construction Injury Claim: Damages & Compensation
Construction accidents can cause significant physical injury to a person, but there are also damages related to financial and psychological pain and suffering. Expenses related to the injury, such as medical bills, as well as the inability to work and pay typical bills are also factored into damage compensation. In some cases, permanent injuries, which can lead to disability and the inability to ever return to work, are factored into compensation based on future earning potential. Medical expenses are usually one of the most pressing issues with damage compensation, and can include hospital bills, surgical expenses, prescription medication, rehabilitative therapies and ongoing expenses for doctor’s visits. Depending on the extent and nature of the injuries, compensation may include costs for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of consortium on behalf of a spouse, and, in some cases, punitive damages.
The Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys at Glaser & Ebbs are skilled at representing clients and their family members injured in personal injury accidents. It often takes legal action to receive fair compensation in these cases. Contact Glaser & Ebbs to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Source: Injury Hotline