Construction Site Injuries—Defining Third-Party Claims
When you are hurt in a construction accident, most people understand that you can collect workers’ compensation benefits through your employer. These benefits can include money for medical bills and time lost from work. If another party is involved in your accident, you can get compensation above and beyond workers’ compensation, in what is called a Third Party Liability Claim.
A third-party claim is essentially a lawsuit brought against people or businesses other than your employer that may have been negligent in causing your workplace injury. These claims can help ensure you receive full compensation for your injuries and related costs.
Examples of construction site accident third-party claims
Third-party liability arises when someone other than your employer acts with negligence, leading to your injury on the job. There are countless different scenarios where a third-party claim could be relevant, but here are a few examples to give you a general idea of how such claims work:
- If you work for a subcontractor on the job site and the general contractor creates a safety hazard leading to your injury, you could make a claim against that general contractor in addition to your workers’ compensation claim with your employer.
- If your job involves driving and another driver causes an accident, you can seek compensation from that at-fault driver for your injuries. This is above and beyond the workers’ compensation claim filed with your employer.
- A slip-and-fall accident caused by a mess left by a janitorial company could lead to a third-party claim against that company.
- A defective piece of equipment, like a ladder or safety harness, could lead to a third-party claim against the manufacturer of that product.
In each of these examples, a third-party injury claim could be filed against someone other than your employer. In each one, any compensation awarded would be above and beyond your workers’ compensation.
Many people have a duty to keep you safe on a construction site. A janitorial crew has a duty to clean up behind themselves, minimizing risks for those who come after. A ladder manufacturer has a responsibility to create ladders that are well-designed and safely constructed. All drivers have responsibilities to follow the rules of the road and avoid accidents whenever possible. When these people are negligent in their duties, they can be held liable.
On construction sites in particular, there are often several companies or entities involved in day-to-day operations, planning, and execution of various aspects of the project. This opens up the potential for accidents and third-party claims against those various companies.
Third-party construction accident claims are possible in accidents involving:
- Falls from heights
- Slip and falls
- Asbestos and toxic fumes exposure
- Collapsing structures or falling ceilings
- Uneven or crumbling stairs, defective hand railings
- Dangerous and defective products
- Improper lighting
- Electrical wiring hazards
- Chemical burns and exposure
- Auto accidents
- Machine guarding
- and more…
Following a construction site accident
Soon after you are involved in an accident on a construction site, you will be contacted by someone representing the workers’ compensation insurance to discuss what happened and whether you are eligible for benefits. Believe it or not, workers’ comp claims are sometimes denied.
Whether your case is clear-cut or if you’ve been denied benefits and think you may have a third-party claim, a construction accident attorney may be able to help you sort through the legal process and get on the road to recovery with as little damage as possible.