Construction is a vitally important industry, yet is one of the most hazardous for the people who work in it. When a construction worker is injured in a work site accident, he or she should be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system which provides limited benefits in return for the certainty of receiving compensation for work-related injuries.
One of the trade-offs for receiving workers’ compensation is that the level of compensation for work-related injuries is normally less than what an injured party would be entitled to if he were successful in a liability lawsuit. Also, when a worker is injured in a construction accident they are entitled to receive worker’s compensation benefits, he is not permitted to file a liability lawsuit against his employer.
However, when someone is at least partially to blame for the injury besides the injured worker’s employer or co-employee, the injured worker can pursue both a liability lawsuit against the responsible parties as well as a worker’s compensation case against his own employer.
Some of the theories of liability which our Illinois construction accident lawyers have presented on behalf of injured construction workers include:
- Unsafe work practices – When another contractor or its employees engage in unsafe work practices that put the employees of other contractors on the site in danger.
- Unsafe equipment – When contractors use unsafe equipment on the job site which put employees of other contractors at risk, or when there is equipment which is used by all the contractors on the site such as ladders, ramps, or scaffolding which is not maintained in safe condition by those responsible, including the general contractor and others in charge of safety on the job site.
- Unsafe working conditions – When there are unsafe conditions such as uncovered floor openings, deep ruts or mud, missing guard rails, or other tripping, slipping, or fall hazards. In this case, both the contractor responsible for creating the hazard and the entity responsible for overall job site conditions (usually the general contractor or owner) has liability for failing to prevent and/or correct unsafe job site conditions.
- Failure to control the job site – On most construction sites, the general contractor has the right to control the work being done by the subcontractor it hires. When the general contractor fails to do this to prevent injury to workers on the site, it may be responsible for injuries suffered by the worker. This responsibility may include stopping unsafe work practices adopted by the injured worker’s employer and properly coordinating the work done by the various contractors on the job.
- Product liability – If there is a defect in the design, manufacture or maintenance of the equipment used by the injured worker, this may be the basis of a lawsuit against the manufacturer or maintenance company responsible for the injury-producing equipment.
Knowledgeable representation is essential
Identification of facts which help develop a liability lawsuit against the responsible parties is one of the benefits of hiring a firm such as the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. Our background in handling these kinds of cases gives us insight into the contractual obligations of the contractors on the site to ensure worker safety. Further, our understanding of OSHA regulations and construction industry safety customs and practices allows us to help juries understand why blame for the accident rests upon the proper parties and not upon the injured worker.
Injured workers deserve skilled, experienced representation when they are hurt on construction sites. Many construction industry jobs, especially union jobs, pay high wages for demanding labor. Even very minor work restrictions can end a construction worker’s career and result in a significant loss of income for the injured worker and his family. The legal issues involving the interaction of the worker’s compensation case and the liability lawsuit can be very difficult even for experienced personal injury attorneys. Having knowledgeable representation can help ensure the injured worker the recovery he is entitled to.