The construction industry has one of the highest injury rates in the country. It is not unheard of for many individuals to be injured on the job each year. Because of the risky nature of construction, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has instituted a variety of requirements as well as regular inspections in attempts to protect the health and safety of all employees.
Even with these regulations set in place, many construction site owners fail to comply with safety codes, resulting in a wide variety of injuries that could be classified as “preventable.” Some causes of construction related injuries include but are not limited to:
Pursuing compensation for injuries sustained on a construction job can be complicated, especially if the injured individual is an independent contractor rather than an employee. An experienced attorney may be able to walk a person through the process of recovering damages in a construction accident case.
Construction workers have two potential routes for recovering damages following an injury: workers’ compensation or filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation is often the safe route for construction workers because all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Filing a claim for workers’ compensation also does not disqualify the employee from filing a personal injury lawsuit. All employees are entitled to workers’ compensation and proving negligence is not required in order for an employee to receive workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation will only cover medical costs and a portion of lost wages, so certain expenses, like pain and suffering, will not compensated.
On the other hand, filing for a personal injury lawsuit pays out all medical expenses and lost wages, as well as mental anguish. However, a personal injury lawsuit is more difficult to pursue and can only be filed if the injuries occurred as a direct result of someone else’s negligence. Upon filing the suit, there must be clear evidence linking the third party’s negligence to the injuries sustained. If the lawsuit is won, the injured employee will be compensated for a wider range of damages than those covered in a workers’ compensation claim.
Businesses commonly use independent contractors as workers on construction sites. Employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for independent contractors.
While employees are often limited to workers’ compensation as their form of recovery, independent contractors tend to have more options. In the case of an injured independent contractor, they may file a civil lawsuit claiming the employer failed to follow safety regulations or otherwise demonstrated negligence in the workplace. In the instance that the contractor utilizes several employees of their own, likely covered by workers’ compensation insurance, it is possible for an injured one of these workers to file a third party claim against the construction landowner claiming negligence, even though the worker isn’t directly employed by the landowner.
Due to the complexities and constant changing legal ground associated with construction accidents, it is important that you and your loved ones take caution in navigating through insurance claims and legal fees. A skilled attorney with experience in construction accident cases could walk you through the steps to a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit, depending on the unique facts of your case. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you seek the compensation that you need.