Construction workers face hazards every day on the job, which is why it’s vital for them to know their rights under workers’ compensation law. In 2015, nearly 5,000 injuries were recorded among construction workers in Illinois, and well over 3,000 of those resulted in lost time at work or job restrictions. Proper workers’ comp coverage is key to making sure they receive adequate compensation for the short and long term effects of their workplace injuries
In many cases, workers’ comp is all an injured construction worker will be entitled to receive. However, there may be cause for a personal injury lawsuit as well. It all depends on whether a third party is involved.
Workers’ Comp Vs. Personal Injury Litigation
When anyone is injured on the job, the law dictates that they may not sue their employer for damages. Instead, they are entitled to compensation through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This is a no-fault system—regardless of who is at fault for the employee’s injuries, they can receive compensation without having to prove fault or negligence.
Personal injury litigation, however, requires the plaintiff—the person who was injured—to prove that the defendant—the party at fault for the injury—in some way caused their injury through neglectful or intentional actions. This makes these cases a bit more tricky, but it can result in larger rewards since the plaintiff can not only receive compensation for disability, lost income, and medical expenses, but also receive damages for pain and suffering.
When to Litigate
When it comes to workplace injuries, however, litigation is not always an option for the reasons mentioned above. It does become an option when a third party—not the employer—caused the worker’s injuries.
Let’s look at an example. Suppose Larry Q. works for Riskey’s Construction, which is currently filling insulation into the new corporate office building they’re constructing. Several tons of insulation are coming that day from Stuffy’s Building Materials Co., and Larry is in charge of unloading the truck. The truck comes plowing into the site, and before Larry can even think to jump out of the way, slams into him before squealing to a stop, throwing the poor fellow back and demolishing numerous bones along his left side.
In this case, Larry’s injury resulted from the driver’s negligence, and more than likely, he could sue Stuffy’s Building Materials for personal injury damages as well as recover workers’ compensation from his employer’s insurer. He would just need to prove the truck driver’s negligence.
Seeking Compensation for a Construction Injury
If you have been injured while working construction, you will need the assistance of an attorney, especially if there is a personal injury claim involved. The defendant will do everything possible to affirm their innocence, so it’s important to have legal representation and guidance through every step of the litigation process, from collecting and submitting evidence to making your story heard during negotiations or court hearings. To learn more about personal injury and workers’ compensation in construction injuries, contact Hard David Carson, LLP, today.