Who is liable for Construction Accidents?

If you are injured while working on a construction site, your employer is primarily liable for your Workers’ Compensation benefits, such as medical expenses, wage loss, and any resulting permanent disability due to your work injury. However, if your injury is caused by the fault of another person or company, called a third party, such as another contractor (not your employer), or a manufacturer of equipment, you may have a claim for Personal Injury against the third party.

If you have been injured in a construction site accident, call Fields Law Firm to determine what potential claims you may have to compensate you for your injuries.

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What is the benefit of bringing a third-party claim?

In general, the most significant difference between Workers’ Compensation cases and third-party liability claims, is that in third-party liability claims, a person may be entitled to receive compensation for additional damages that are not available in Workers’ Compensation claims, such as pain and suffering, loss of future earnings capacity, and loss of consortium (generally, the loss of services, comfort and companionship of your spouse). Another difference is that third-party liability claims are litigated in district courts, and Workers’ Compensation claims are litigated in administrative courts.

Fault of another company

An example of a construction site injury that can result in the right to bring a third-party liability claim follows: Consider that there is subcontractor on site working on installing the elevators in a high-rise building. You are working for the painting contractor and just finished painting on the third floor. Unbeknownst to you, the elevator contractor is working on the elevator car on the first floor but has not turned the elevator off.

Holding a lot of painting equipment, you press the elevator call button to leave for the day. The elevator doors open, but the elevator is not there. You do not see that the car itself did not arrive but assume it did because the doors opened and you heard the tone, and you started to back up with all your equipment. You fall two floors down to the top of the elevator car and are injured. You can bring a third-party liability claim against the elevator contractor for negligence in failing to turn the power off, or otherwise disable the elevator doors, which would have prevented your injury.

Product Liability

Another example of a construction site injury that can result in the right to bring a third-party liability claim follows: You are working as a framing carpenter, employed by a subcontractor at a construction site, and brought your brand-new electric saw that you just received from the manufacturer to assist with your duties. While cutting wood with this new saw, the guard suddenly detaches because it was improperly installed by the manufacturer, and you sustain a serious cut to your hand. You can bring a third-party liability claim against the manufacturer of the electric saw for the failure to properly install the guard, which would have prevented your injury.