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Construction Injuries and your Legal options

Although accidents can happen in any occupation, the construction industry is especially prone to injuries due to the inherently dangerous nature of the work involved. Like any other profession where employees are injured on the job, in many cases construction workers are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits while they recover.

If you are a construction worker who suffered a work-related accident, you might have a few options when it comes to obtaining compensation for your injuries. Continue reading to find out more.

What are the Most Common Causes of Construction Injuries?

On a construction site, apart from injuries caused by one’s own mistakes, the carelessness of another can raise legal liability for any resulting harm. Here are a few examples of common hazards encountered on a construction site:

  • Poor communication
  • Unsafe scaffolding
  • Hazards caused by poorly constructed trench barriers
  • Accidents caused by truck driver or equipment operator recklessness
  • Accidents caused by defective protective devices and equipment, such as a defective safety harness
  • Electric shocks caused by faulty equipment or exposed wiring
  • Hazardous or toxic chemical leaks or spills

Can I File A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

 If you are injured while working in the construction industry, you are likely to be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance. Compensation schemes differ from one state to the next, but they do share a few things in common.

Workers’ compensation is typically a “no fault” scheme, meaning that you do not have to show that any other person or organization was responsible for or caused the injury. Generally, to claim workers’ compensation, you need only show that you were hurt and the injury is work-related.

In addition, you must file a workers’ compensation claim within your state’s filing deadline or else you could lose your right to receive workers’ comp benefits.

Workers’ compensation insurance usually covers the following expenses:

  • Medical care expenses related to the injury
  • Temporary disability benefits for lost wages
  • Permanent disability benefits for qualifying applicants
  • If permanently disabled, supplemental job displacement benefits

Worker’s compensation benefits can be challenging to obtain on your own, and may provide insufficient benefits to meet your needs. If you believe your workers’ compensation plan is not properly compensating you, you should seek a construction accident attorney’s advice.

Is it Possible to File a Civil Lawsuit Outside of Workers’ Compensation?

Despite popular belief, workers’ compensation is not always the only compensation available for a work-related injury. There are some situations in which you may be able to sue for damages caused by your injuries. Whether you can sue will be determined by the specifics of your injuries and the laws of the state in which you reside.

Construction workers encounter a variety of third-party suppliers, engineers, subcontractors and other entities who may cause or contribute to hazardous conditions on a job site. Some common situations where you may be able to sue in lieu of workers’ compensation are if your injury was caused by a defective product, if the illness or injury was caused by a toxic substance, if the injury was caused by your employer’s intentional or reckless conduct, or if the employer fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Worker’s compensation benefits may provide inadequate temporary disability and permanent disability payments. Moreover, workers’ compensation does not pay for intangible costs like pain and suffering or punitive damages when an employer fails to take proper safety measures. There are important factors to keep in mind when considering which legal remedy is best for your particular circumstances.

Product Liability Lawsuits for Construction Injuries

A piece of equipment may have caused your injury, but this may not always be the result of operator error or negligence. A defective design or bad manufacturing may have caused the equipment or tool to malfunction. In that case, you may be able to seek a product liability lawsuit to recover compensation for damages related to the accident.

In a product liability suit, anyone involved in the equipment’s “stream of commerce” may be found liable for damages. This can include any entity from the designer, to the product’s manufacturer, to a supplier of parts used in the equipment’s assembly, and more.

Even if such individuals or entities were physically and geographically separate from the construction site, their actions could have contributed to your injury. A product’s liability case looks similar to other civil lawsuits based on a theory of negligence, but the elements that must be proven in court are somewhat more specific. In general, you must demonstrate:

  • The tool or device that caused the injury was unreasonably unsafe when it left the supplier or manufacturer.
  • You were using the tool or equipment as it was intended at the time of the injury
  • The injury was caused by the dangerous flaw in the tool or equipment

f you have been injured and hurt on the job, it is in your best interest to talk to a construction accident lawyer to secure your legal options for obtaining compensation.

Seeking a legal remedy not only helps to secure your economic future, but also holds those who behave carelessly or negligently accountable for the harms they inflict, improves job safety, and prevents accidents to others.

Every situation is different, and you may need additional legal assistance. Contact a lawyer for a free case review and to seek the compensation you are owed.

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