When an employee is injured at work or while performing work duties, and that injury prevents them from working temporarily or even permanently, they can get workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical bills and still receive part of their salary.
Unlike a typical personal injury claim, injured workers don’t even need to prove their employers were negligent. In many cases, workers can get compensation even if they were at fault for their own injuries. If a worker is killed, their family can also get death benefits through workers’ compensation.
This is especially important in construction, which sees far more injuries and fatal accidents than nearly any other profession. One in every five fatal work accidents happens in construction.
However, the trade-off is that any employee who is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits cannot sue their employer for an injury. They can only get compensation through workers’ compensation, which has some downsides. For one, workers’ compensation only provides partial salary compensation, usually around 66% of your full salary. For another, injured workers can’t get compensation for pain and suffering.
However, if you were injured while working because of the negligence of someone who is not your employer, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused your injury. This is called a third-party liability claim.
What Are Examples of Third-Party Liability in Construction Accidents?
While many construction injuries are caused by falls, electrocution, or being struck or trapped by an object, it is also common for construction accidents to be caused by the negligence of a third party, which may include property owners, subcontractors, manufacturers of tools and equipment used by construction workers, electricians, engineers, and others.
If you were injured at a construction site due to one of the following reasons, you may be eligible for a third-party liability claim:
- Faulty or poorly constructed scaffolding or stairs
- Broken or missing handrails
- Collapsing walls or ceilings
- Defective tools, equipment, or safety devices
- Motor vehicle accidents involving a third party
- Inadequate lighting
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals
- Fires and explosions
- Injuries caused by a subcontractor (such as dropping an object on another worker or striking another worker with an object or piece of equipment)
However, these are just some examples where someone else could be considered at fault. We also recommend speaking to an experienced construction accident lawyer to discover what your options for compensation are.
Can I File Both a Work Comp Claim and a Third-Party Liability Claim After a Construction Accident?
Yes, it is possible to file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer and a third-party liability claim against the at-fault party. However, if you win your third-party compensation claim, laws against getting compensation from multiple sources for the same injury may require you to pay your employer back for what they paid you. This is called subrogation.
However, it is likely that your workers’ compensation benefits will pay sooner than a third-party liability claim, especially if your liability claim goes to trial.
Injury victims can often get significantly more compensation through a third-party liability claim than they can get through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This is because third-party liability claims can include compensation for pain and suffering. This means that after winning a third-party liability claim, injury victims usually still have money left over after paying back their employers for the benefits they already received.
These reasons can make it worthwhile to pursue both types of claims. If you are unsure which type of claim to pursue, our construction accident attorneys are available to answer your questions.
When You Need Compensation After a Construction Accident, Catalano Wins for You
At Catalano Law, we have years of experience helping injured workers get the compensation they need to move forward after a construction injury, whether it was caused by a third party or not. Contact our New York workplace accident attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.