So You’ve Been Injured at a Construction Site, What Happens Now?

July 10th, 2020

Kramer Trial Lawyers has a track record of success in personal injury claims in construction site settings. In this article we discuss the differences between a worker’s compensation case and a personal injury case, when you can file a personal injury case, and why you should. 

Injured at a Construction Site? 

You may not be limited to Worker’s Compensation. 

Construction work is a very risky job. The statistics of being injured on the job do not lie. One in five worker deaths annually is in construction.  As such, it is important to have the necessary knowledge to seek adequate compensation in the event of an injury while on the job. 

If you’ve been injured while working at a construction site, worker’s compensation may not be your only form of relief. In some circumstances, you may also be entitled file a third party personal injury claim in addition to your worker’s compensation claim. 

The following describes the differences between worker’s compensation and third party personal injury claims, when you can file for a third party personal injury claim, and why you should. 

Worker’s Compensation Claim 

Worker’s compensation insurance coverage is meant to protect workers who are injured while working. It provides a form of relief to any worker who becomes injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault, or even if no one is at fault for the injury. For example, if a worker falls off a ladder, or if a worker smashes his hand with a tool, he or she would be able to seek worker’s compensation coverage. Simply proving that you have been injured is sufficient. Further, in the worker’s compensation system, your claim does not go through the Superior Court system. Rather, you file a claim through California’s Worker’s Compensation agency that handles the entire process. 

However, in a worker’s compensation case, you can only seek compensation from your employer. Your recovery is also limited to medical expenses, wages, impairment benefits, and employment rehabilitation. As a result, you cannot recover from your pain and suffering, or emotional distress. Nor can you seek punitive damages if the injury was intentionally caused, or caused with malice, oppression, or fraud. Moreover, recovery is received in periodic payments as opposed to a lump sum. 

Sometimes worker’s compensation is the only avenue of recovery. However, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney such as KTL who can determine other sources of recovery, if available. 

Personal Injury Claim 

A personal injury claim is intended to provide justice to individuals who have been harmed by others. It is our society’s belief that that those who have been harmed by others should not pay the bill, while those who caused the harm walk away scotch free. Our society imposes a moral obligation on the individual who caused the injury to compensate the victim for the harm caused. 

The benefits of a personal injury case can be substantial. In a personal injury case, the worker receives benefits in a lump sum as opposed to periodically. Most importantly however, under a personal injury claim, an individual may seek additional types of recovery including pain and suffering, and punitive damages. As such, a personal injury claim creates an opportunity to seek adequate damages to compensate for more than just the physical injury. 

When Can I File a Third Party Personal Injury Claim? 

When working on a construction site and a third party causes you harm, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the party that caused the harm, including another contractor or the owner/controller of the premises.  However, the circumstances under which a civil lawsuit may be maintained are narrowly construed.  Workers’ compensation is still the main avenue of recovery, under a legal doctrine known colloquially as “Privette”.  This doctrine considers that where workers’ compensation coverage is available, the injured worker would be adequately compensated for his or her injuries, and any civil lawsuit would simply result in a windfall to the worker.  However, exceptions do exist.  These exceptions are more fully explained in another article.   

In order to establish third party liability, a careful understanding of the controlling laws and exceptions is required.  If you have been injured at a construction site and believe a third party may be responsible, contact Kramer Trial Lawyers today for a free evaluation.  

Insurance companies have strategies in place to pay the least amount possible, despite the needs of the injured. Here at Kramer Trial Lawyers, we have the experience and the track record to seek justice for your injuries. In April 2018, we were able to give our client who had been injured on a construction site a Jury Verdict for nearly 3 million.