Construction jobs are risky and dangerous, and they’re a prime example of why a workers compensation claim exists. There is heavy machinery, working at heights, and dangerous tools. Construction workers are constantly at risk of injuring themselves or falling from a big height. And such accidents happen, and when they do, the worker needs to know that they have the right to a workers compensation claim for their injuries. A construction worker has the right to expect that their workplace should be reasonably safe and that they will be protected from risks and injuries.
If you are a construction worker and were injured at work, a New York workers compensation lawyer will be of great help to you.
Can You Make A Workers Compensation Claim?
If you were injured while doing construction work you are eligible for a workers compensation claim. The workers’ compensation systems are different in every state, but they usually have similar elements such as these:
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system for payment of benefits. You aren’t required to prove that another person or entity was negligent and contributed to your injury. You only have to prove that you were injured and that the injury happened while you were working (at the workplace).
Your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance.
A workers compensation claim usually covers:
- medical expenses
- lost wages
- partial or permanent disability
It only covers these areas because the employer or the company wouldn’t want to go through expensive litigation to prove that someone else caused your injury. This is why you as a worker give up your right to seek other damages such as pain and suffering.
Can You Take a Civil Lawsuit Outside of Workers Compensation?
You may be entitled to bring a claim for damages against other persons or entities. This will depend on the particular circumstances of your injury. Construction workers usually work with subcontractors or vendors. There are many other persons on a job site, working with heavy machinery or driving trucks. Other people (architects, suppliers, engineers) who aren’t even on the job site may also contribute to such injuries. If you are injured because of the negligence of one of those persons, you may file a claim for damages against an individual, and that person’s employer.
These actions should be done through a traditional lawsuit with the same rules and procedures as if you were pursuing a personal injury after a car accident. To predominate in such a lawsuit, you will have to prove all three of the following requirements:
- another person or entity had a duty to act reasonably and safely in regards to you
- this person or entity didn’t perform that duty
- you were injured because of the person’s or entity negligence
Negligence by another person or entity can happen in any situation on a construction site such as the following:
- a fall from the scaffolding that has been poorly erected
- reckless driving by a truck driver that causes an accident
- defectively-designed safety equipment, like a harness, that leads to an injury
- electric shocks from faulty equipment
- repetitive motion injuries
- hazardous or toxic chemical leaks or spills because of faulty equipment or decisions
- the fall of a trench because of poorly-built trench barriers.
Product Liability Lawsuits for Construction Injuries
Your injury may occur because of a piece of equipment, but the injury wasn’t necessarily caused by the inappropriate use of that equipment. The malfunctioning of the equipment or tool may occur due to a faulty design or poor manufacture.
- If you were injured in such a situation, your claim would again be brought as a civil lawsuit, but for “product liability.” The defendant in the lawsuit could be anyone from the manufacturer, designer of the tool to a supplier of parts used in the collection of the equipment. Even though these persons or entities may be far from the construction site in terms of time and distance, their actions may still have contributed to your workplace injury. A product liability lawsuit practices the same form as any other civil suit but the elements that you will have to prove in court are different. You will have to must show:
- The tool or equipment that caused your injury was dangerous when it left the supplier or manufacturer
- You were using the tool or equipment in an intended manner
- The tool or equipment had a dangerous error that caused your injury.
If you’re facing a workplace injury and fear that things might be complex contact Cellino Law and schedule your free case evaluation.