The construction industry has one of the highest worker injury rates of any occupation. Injury claims may be limited by state workers’ compensation laws, but workers may, in certain circumstances, be able to seek compensation against third parties in court.
General contractors and subcontractors both have legal obligations to provide a construction site that is reasonably safe and must warn employees of any hazards on the site or hazards related to the type of work. A general contractor is responsible for job safety on the entire site and must comply with all Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. Although the general contractor is ultimately responsible for construction safety, any subcontractor brought onto the site must also ensure job safety and must always be in compliance with OSHA regulations as well.
Construction accident claims are almost always based on allegations of carelessness or negligence. The common circumstances leading to injury on a construction site include:
In most situations where you have been hurt on a construction site, your financial recovery will be limited to what is available under your state’s workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation laws are designed to benefit both parties in a work injury claim. As the injured party, you don’t have to file a lawsuit to recover losses, but can submit a claim for benefits directly to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Your employer does not have to face the risk of a large damage award from a jury, as the workers’ compensation laws identify specific dollar amounts based on the type of injury.
There are circumstances, however, where you may pursue financial compensation in addition to workers’ compensation benefits—in what is called a “third party claim.” The workers’ compensation laws only cover injuries caused by the carelessness of the employer or a co-employee. If you are injured because of the wrongful act of an unrelated third party, the limitations of the workers’ compensation laws don’t apply. For example, you may have been hurt because of the malfunction of a tool or machine, or in a motor vehicle accident while on the job. In most instances, you can file a third party lawsuit, in a court of law, seeking damages for your losses.
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