As construction workers can attest, there are often a lot of different people and companies working on busy job sites. There are general contractors, subcontractors, truck drivers, vendors and others. When an injury happens, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation insurance claim with your immediate employer, there may also be a third party against whom a claim can be made.
If you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation entitles you to be compensated for your medical bills and lost wages, but it also limits you from filing a suit against your employer for additional damages. However, third parties on job sites are not protected by these workers’ compensation limits. If a negligent third party causes your injury, a personal injury liability claim may be brought against them.
An injury on the job not only causes pain, but it is also very stressful. You may be worried about lost wages and supporting your family. For this reason, you might consider talking to a workplace injury attorney in your state. Workplace injury attorneys are experienced in navigating the complicated workers’ compensation process and can also help you identify third parties who may be liable for your injuries. There are situations where workers’ compensation is denied, and this could be the case if a direct employer balks at being held liable when a third party may have been negligent and caused your injury.
Examples of Possible Third-Party Liability
Here are some basic examples of accidents where a third-party may be held liable:
- You are standing on scaffolding that suddenly collapses, you fall and are injured. Depending on the construction contractor who was responsible for erecting the scaffolding (or ladders or other equipment that failed and caused injury), you might have a third-party liability claim.
- You are walking through a construction site and are hit by a truck bringing in building supplies. The truck driver was speeding and driving erratically. You may have a suit against the driver and the trucking company that employs the driver.
- You come into contact with a live wire that an electrician negligently left unsecured and suffer a serious shock or electrocution injury. Many times electricians and other skilled tradespeople are subcontractors on construction sites, so they are considered third parties.
In addition to third parties who are physically located on jobsites and cause injuries, other third parties who can be held liable include product manufacturers. For example, you might use a tool or other equipment that is defective, causing injury. Sometimes, there may be multiple third parties who are held liable for injuries on construction sites.
Steps to Take Following a Workplace Injury
If you are injured while working on a construction site, take these steps:
- Immediately seek medical attention. Of course, getting medical attention is most important for your health and well-being. It is also important evidence when filing for workers’ compensation or bringing a liability claim.
- Document the scene, if you are able. This can include getting witness statements or at least witness contact information, taking photographs and writing down notes about what happened while it is still clear in your mind.
- Report the incident to your employer, your union if you are in one, and the head of the job site if possible. Don’t wait to report the incident as some employers or others who are potentially responsible may try to claim that your injury didn’t happen on site in order to avoid liability.
- File for workers’ compensation insurance. Different states have different filing deadlines. Check with an attorney in your state for more information.
Construction-Site Liability Can Be Complex
As you can see, being compensated for your injuries on a jobsite can be complicated. It is always a good idea after suffering an injury on the job to consult with an experienced attorney. Look for an attorney in your state who can answer your questions about applicable laws and state filing deadlines. If you’ve been injured on the job in New York state, contact Kaplan Lawyers, PC for a consultation.