Construction jobs can be very dangerous. Heavy machinery. Working at heights on scaffolding or below ground in trenches. Using potentially dangerous tools and equipment. Even while surrounded by all of these hazards, however, you still have the right to expect that your workplace will be reasonably safe and that you'll be protected from unnecessary risks and injuries.
If you are a construction worker and you suffer a work-related injury, you may have several options available to you when it comes to making a claim. Read on to learn more.
As with most occupations, if you are injured while doing construction work you are probably eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The workers' compensation systems vary from state to state, but they generally have several elements in common:
A workers' compensation claim typically pays for:
The reasoning behind this limitation on the benefits paid in a workers' compensation claim is that, in exchange for not having to go through expensive litigation to prove that someone else caused your injury, you give up your right to pursue other damages such as pain and suffering.
Learn more about Workers' Compensation Claims and Benefits.
In addition to workers' comp, you may be entitled to bring a claim for damages against other persons or entities. This will depend not only on the particular circumstances of your injury, but also the rules in the state in which you live.
In a typical construction job, you frequently work with other subcontractors or vendors. There are often many other persons on a job site, operating heavy machinery or even driving trucks. Additionally, other persons who aren't even on the job site also may also play a role in on-the-job injuries. These persons may include architects, engineers, and suppliers. If you are injured due to the negligence of one of those persons, you may have a claim for damages against not only that individual, but also that person's employer.
These actions take the form of a traditional lawsuit with the same rules and procedures as if you were pursuing a personal injury following a car accident. To prevail in such a lawsuit, you must generally prove all three of the following requirements:
Learn more about Negligence and the Duty of Care.
Negligence by another person or entity can occur in any number of situations on a construction site. Some of these include:
More: Workplace Injuries: When You Can Sue Outside of Workers' Comp.
Sometimes your injury may be caused by a piece of equipment, but the injury wasn't necessarily caused by the improper use of that equipment. Rather, the equipment or tool may have malfunctioned due to a faulty design or poor manufacture.
In that situation, your claim would again be brought as a civil lawsuit, but one for "product liability." The defendant in the lawsuit could be anyone from the designer of the tool to a supplier of parts used in the assembly of the equipment. Even though those persons or entities may be far removed from the construction site in terms of both time and distance, their actions may still have played a role in your on-the-job injury. A product liability lawsuit takes the same form as any other civil suit but the elements that you must prove in court are slightly different. You generally must show:
Get more information on Proving a Product Liability Claim.
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