Every year, construction workers are being injured on the job – let’s face it, they have an inherently dangerous profession. However, accepting that risk isn’t something that they need to do, because the risk of injury should be a preventable one. When a worker is injured on the job, they will almost always have some form of legal relief to help them recover from their injuries. There may be three legal options that we will discuss soon, including a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or a products liability lawsuit.
Were You Following Prevention and Safety Regulations?
On construction sites, there are always safety procedures to follow to ensure that safety is regulated. The manager and contractor at the site are responsible for following regulations set by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). These regulations require employers to remove hazards from the workplace, provide safe tools and equipment, inform employees and display OSHA regulations, create a hazard communication program, provide a safety training manual, and notify employees of the existence of their medical and exposure records.
Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are injured on the job at a construction site, then in most cases you are probably eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation tends to be a “no fault” system for payment of benefits – this means that you do not have to prove that another person or entity was negligent or caused the injury. All you have to do is prove that you were actually injured and that the injury occurred in the course of your employment.
Every employer is required to carry these benefits. If they don’t carry the insurance, then the benefits for the injury couldn’t be paid – therein lies the problem. A workers’ compensation claim will typically pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and partial or permanent disability caused by the injury. In exchange for not having to go through expensive litigation, you will give up your right to pursue other damages like pain and suffering.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Workers’ compensation will apply on where employer-employee relationships exist. However, in many construction situations, there are many people and entities involved in the project; take for example general contractors, property owners, and architects just to start. In order to win a personal injury lawsuit for harm that was caused by a construction accident, a worker must be able to prove that the defendant had a duty to provide for the safety of the worker, the defendant failed to meet that duty, and that the defendant’s action or inaction caused injury to the construction worker.
In the Case of a Product Liability Lawsuit
In other situations, a worker may have been injured by a defective piece of equipment or material used on the job. In this situation, a designer, manufacturer, or seller would be held liable in many cases. They must be able to prove the following elements to have a case:
- Unreasonably Dangerous Equipment: If the equipment had an unreasonably dangerous defect, then an entity may be liable for any injuries sustained. There is no requirement that the defendant had to know of the defect, just that the equipment was defective when it left the control of the defendant.
- Foreseeable Manner: A worker will not be able to sue a manufacturer if the employee was using the equipment in an unforeseeable manner that was not intended for it. This will cause a designer or manufacturer to escape liability, for it was modified or used improperly.
- Harm: The damages that apply to personal injury cases will generally also apply to product liability cases.
If you believe you have a claim, the first step you should take is to speak with an attorney that you can trust. Call WTW today to see where you stand in your case. We will review your information and tell you how to move forward.