There are many ways to become injured on a construction site. In many cases, these injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal. In most cases, these injuries and deaths are covered by workers’ compensation. However, when the responsible party was not part of your crew, you may have a third-party liability claim, as well.
Here are some examples of common construction site accidents that may result in third-party claims:
1. Struck by a falling object. This can easily be catastrophic, causing a head injury or another type of serious injury. If the person who failed to rein in the object was not part of your company, you would generally have a third-party liability claim against that person and their company.
2. Heavy machinery accidents. Power tools and heavy machinery are everywhere on construction sites, and they can sometimes malfunction or fail, especially if safety features have been disabled. If this was done by another party, or if the injury was due to a fault in the product, you could have a third-party claim against that company or against the manufacturer of the tool or machine.
3. Workplace vehicle accidents. Being struck, backed over or crushed between a vehicle and a stationary object could cause disabling injuries or even death. Was the person responsible working for your company? If not, you may have a separate third-party claim.
4. Fires and explosions. These can be the result of numerous issues, and they are frequently catastrophic in nature. Sometimes, the construction site contains hazards such as faulty wiring or flammable chemicals that have nothing to do with the current project. If these cause an injury, they may be the responsibility of the site’s owner. This would be a third-party claim.
5. Elevated lead levels. According to the CDC, construction workers accounted for 16% of all elevated blood lead concentrations cases between 2002 and 2008. Certain poor construction practices can expose workers to elevated levels of lead, which can cause serious illness. Depending on who was responsible for the elevated lead, you might have a third-party claim against that person or company.
6 Scaffolding, trench or building collapses. These are among the most dangerous events on construction sites, and they are often the fault of workers from other companies. Many construction sites hire specialty contractors to assemble scaffolding or dig trenches. That may mean that the responsible company is not the one you work for. Similarly, a building collapse can be the fault of a specialty contractor or more than one company.
If you have been injured while working construction, don’t assume that workers’ compensation is your only option. You could have a liability claim against any other company and its employees, if they are responsible for the injury. This could result in additional compensation for you, so it is important to have your case evaluated by a personal injury attorney who handles construction accident cases.