Our Construction Accident Frequently Asked Questions
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How do I know what my construction claim is worth and what I can recover?
What a construction worker is able to recover following an on-the-job accident depends largely on which avenue of compensation pursued.
In Pennsylvania, injured construction workers are often entitled to benefits through the state's workers' compensation system. This no-fault system covers the cost of related authorized medical care, compensates for lost wages, and provides partial or total disability benefits—even if the construction worker was partially or fully responsible for the accident resulting in injuries.
While there are obvious advantages to collecting workers' compensation after a construction site accident—such as not having to prove negligence in order to receive benefits—for workers with severe injuries, these benefits may not provide the full range of compensation they need and deserve.
However, construction crew members injured by a worker from another company may have grounds for a third-party construction accident claim, which allows them to seek a much broader array of damages.
In addition to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and loss of earning potential, plaintiffs in a third-party construction accident case can also attempt to recover damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring or disfigurement, reduced quality of life, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Third-party personal injury claims are filed far more often than most people realize. They're especially common in the construction industry, as jobsites are bustling and inherently hazardous places where employees from numerous companies work side-by-side to complete an overall project.
Do You Have a Third-Party Construction Accident Case?
If you were injured in a construction site accident and think you may have grounds for a third-party personal injury claim, it's important to understand all of your legal rights and options before making decisions that could affect your case.
The experienced workers' compensation attorneys with the Accident and Injury Law Group can review the facts of your construction accident case and offer our advice on how best to proceed. Contact the Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case analysis.
How will I be compensated for a construction accident injury?
Serious construction accidents are a daily occurrence in the United States. In fact, more than 200,000 construction accidents result in injury each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some of the most common and dangerous types of construction accidents include falls, electrocutions, exposure to hazardous materials, and struck-by object or caught-in between incidents.
The injuries sustained in a construction accident vary, but may include:
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries or vision loss
- Head or brain injuries
- Back or spinal cord injuries
- Amputation or loss of limbs
Any of these injuries can require extensive medical treatment and a long period of recovery, and may even render the construction crew member temporarily or permanently unable to work. Fortunately, in Pennsylvania, injured construction workers aren't without legal rights and protections, and may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other losses.
Who's responsible for compensating construction workers for on-the-job injuries depends on a variety of factors. The Pennsylvania workers' compensation system is often the first and only recourse for injured construction workers. This no-fault system compensates accident victims for medical expenses and lost wages. However, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act shields employers from personal injury cases brought by their employees.
Sometimes construction accident injuries aren't caused by the negligence of employers or coworkers, but by the negligence of someone who's an independent contractor or employed by another company. In such cases, the injured construction worker may have grounds for a third-party construction accident claim, and the other worker or company may be financially responsible for their injuries.
Consult a Knowledgeable Construction Accident Attorney
Third-party construction accident claims can be extremely complex. However, there are numerous benefits to pursing them—specifically, injured workers can seek compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other damages.
Not sure if you have grounds for a third-party accident claim? The Accident and Injury Law Group offers prospective clients a free initial case analysis. Contact a workers' compensation attorney today to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.
What's a third party construction accident claim?
Construction sites are bustling workplaces where workers from multiple companies work side-by-side to complete a larger project.
Even if construction workers can reliably count on themselves and the rest of their crew to follow important safety protocols, they can't always expect the same vigilance from other subcontractors and workers who come and go on the job site.
When someone is injured in the workplace due to the negligence of a worker from another company, the injured worker may have grounds for a third-party personal injury claim. Unlike traditional construction accident injury claims, which must go through the state's workers' compensation system, third-party claims are pursued through the civil justice system.
This means that rather than only receiving payments for economic losses and lost wages, injured construction workers can seek compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, and other conditions.
Common types of injuries associated with construction accidents include:
- Shoulder or knee sprains
- Broken bones
- Cuts or lacerations
- Eye injuries or vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Concussions, traumatic brain injuries and other head traumas
- Paralysis and other spinal cord injuries
As one might imagine, third-party construction accident cases can be complicated. Fortunately, a seasoned personal injury attorney can help by thoroughly investigating the cause of the accident, determining the proper third-party to name in lawsuit, and examining all possible avenues of compensation.
Did You Sustain a Third-Party Injury on the Job Site?
If you're a construction worker who was injured on the job by a third party, it's important to act quickly to protect your rights. A knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney with the Accident and Injury Law Group can help you through every step of the process. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation initial case consultation.
Can I be fired for filing a claim against my employer?
After sustaining an on-the-job injury, construction workers often worry that filing a workers' compensation claim will cost them their job. Fortunately, thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's 1998 decision in Shick v. Shirey, it's against the law for an employer to discriminate or fire a worker in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim and pursuing the benefits they're owed.
However, while it's illegal to fire an employee specifically for exercising their lawful rights to workers' compensation, it's still completely legal for employers to fire an employee with an open workers' compensation claim for some other reason.
In fact, as an at-will employment state, Pennsylvania makes it relatively easy for employers to fire workers for any—or no—reason at all.
As a result, unscrupulous employers may take advantage of this loophole when seeking to terminate the employment of an injured worker.
This is often the case when an injured construction worker returns to the job on light or modified duty.
Rather than firing the worker for pursuing compensation for a workplace injury, an employer may instead look for reasons or excuses to let him or her go, such as minor attendance issues, disagreeing with a supervisor, or missing a deadline.
Proving someone was fired in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim can be challenging. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience handling construction accident cases can help employees protect their rights after a workplace injury.
Consult an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney
If you're a construction worker who was injured on the job, Pennsylvania law protects you from employer retaliation related to the pursuit of workers' compensation benefits. However, your company managers may use other tactics to terminate your employment.
Don't leave yourself unprotected. Contact the Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your construction accident case. We're here to help you protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.
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What if another construction company or entity caused my injury?
After being hurt on the job, construction employees may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, such as medical expenses coverage and a portion of the wages they lost during their recovery.
While workers' compensation addresses economic losses associated with a workplace injury, it doesn't compensate individuals injured for non-economic damages—such as pain and suffering—that could be sought in a personal injury lawsuit. Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, workers' compensation is the sole legal remedy for injured workers.
However, while Pennsylvania law bars employees from suing their employer for negligence after sustaining a work-related injury, filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party may be an option if the injury was caused by someone from a different company.
Known as third-party claims, these types of lawsuits are relatively common after a construction accident, partially because of how standard it is for numerous companies, contractors, and subcontractors to work side-by-side on a single project.
Examples of third party claims include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Workers hurt in a job-related car or truck accident can often file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver while also collecting workers' compensation benefits.
- Defective equipment or machinery. If a machinery defect or malfunction results in injury, the manufacturer may be held liable.
- Non-employer supervisory negligence. Non-employer supervisors, such as engineers or architects, may be held liable if flaws in their work cause injury.
- Errors made by other contractors or subcontractors. When a contractor or subcontractor's on-the-job negligence injures a worker from another company, the injured individual may have grounds to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Consult an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney
If you're a construction worker who suffered a job-related injury caused by another company or entity's negligence, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against a third party. This allows you to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Don't settle for less than what you deserve. Contact the Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule a free initial case consultation. Our skilled attorneys are eager to help you explore your options for compensation.
Do I need a lawyer for my construction site injury claim?
Because your recovery costs will be covered by workers’ comp, it may seem like there is no need for an attorney when you are injured on a construction site. However, a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney may uncover additional sources of compensation. Therefore, we recommend that you do consider hiring an attorney when you are injured in a construction site accident.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Like every other employer in Pennsylvania, construction companies and contractors must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the medical costs of employees injured in the workplace. This coverage extends to all workers, including seasonal and part-time employees. As long as the injury occurred while performing work duties, workers’ comp will kick in. The cause of the accident does not matter—your coverage should be almost automatic. Workers’ comp insurance will cover the following expenses:
- Payment for lost wages. If you are unable to work because of your injury, workers’ comp will provide wage-loss benefits.
- Specific loss benefits. If you have lost the use of a sense or body part because of the injury, you may be entitled to a specific loss benefit.
- Medical care. All surgical and medical services related to the workplace injury or illness will be covered by the medical care benefit.
If you report your accident promptly and follow all required steps, you should not have a problem getting your workers’ comp benefits. However, these benefits may not be enough to cover all of your losses.
A Personal Injury Attorney Will Identify Other Liable Parties
Construction sites are busy places and there are often multiple companies working at the same time. When you are injured on a site, your direct employer will provide workers’ comp benefits regardless of fault, but another employer on the site may be the one responsible for your injury. For example, if you are doing finish work for your employer, but using the electrical subcontractor’s scaffolding which gives way and causes you to fall, you may be able to pursue compensation from that company, as well as workers’ comp benefits from your own employer. You would seek damages from a non-employer through a lawsuit, which will likely be settled through that company’s liability insurance. This could provide a significant financial award that would contribute a great deal towards your recovery.
Call Us for a Free Consultation
Liability on a construction site can be complicated. Even if you are receiving workers’ comp for your injury, schedule a free consultation with us to review your case. If we think there might be another source of compensation, we will let you know.
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