Construction accidents result in some of the most devastating, painful and costly injuries. When a construction worker is injured, there is not just the challenge of facing medical expenses, but also coping with the loss of income as a result of the victim being unable to return to work right away. If the injury has resulted in a long-term or lifelong disability, the worker and his family must deal with permanent loss of income and livelihood while thinking about providing care for the injured family member.
Inadequacy of Workers' Compensation Benefits
In California, when a construction worker is injured, he or she can seek workers' compensation benefits from the employer. Workers' compensation insurance will pay for your medical expenses and a potion of your income. When a worker died on the job, family members are entitled to death benefits. When you file a workers' compensation claim, you do so with the understanding that you cannot sue your employer for your injuries and damages.
The workers' compensation is a “no-fault” system where workers relinquish their rights to sue their employers for workplace accidents in exchange for a well-defined set of benefits. Workers' compensation has its advantages. It keeps these types of claims out of court. There is no blame game in a workers' compensation case. And in an ideal world, everyone works together to make sure the worker receives the care and compensation that is needed during this difficult time.
However, as we all very well know, we don't live in an ideal world. The workers' compensation claim process is riddled with pitfalls. Workers are left running around in circles to see the doctor they want and to get the treatment they need. What's more, when a worker dies or suffers a catastrophic or life-changing injury, workers' compensation benefits are extremely inadequate.
What Are Third-Party Claims?
If the worker's injuries occurred as the result of a third party's negligence, the worker may be able to file a lawsuit against the third party in order to receiving workers' compensation benefits from his or her employer. The third party, in other words, is an individual or entity other than the employer whose negligence or misconduct caused or contributed to the construction accident. Here are a few examples of third parties who may be held liable for a construction accident:
General contractor: A construction worker who is employed with a construction company may be able to file a third-part lawsuit against a general contractor whose negligence or site safety violations caused or contributed to the workplace accident.
Sub-contractor: It is extremely common for sub-contractors to take on various construction site jobs. If your injury was caused by the negligence of a sub-contractor, you many be able to file a lawsuit against that company.
Property owner: When it comes to construction work, property owners or building owners have a responsibility to ensure that their premises are safe for workers. If your injury was caused by a dangerous condition on the property, you may be able to file a third-party lawsuit against the property or building owner.
Product manufacturer: Construction workers use a lot of power tools and equipment at the worksite. If your accident was caused by a defective or malfunctioning product such as a nail gun or stepladder, you may be able to hold the manufacturer of the faulty product accountable for your losses.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in a construction accident and are considering filing a third-party claim or if you are wondering whether you have such a claim, our experienced Orange County personal injury lawyers may be able to help you. We have a long and successful track record of helping injured workers secure maximum compensation for their losses. Call us to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.