Construction sites are filled with hazards, even when everyone is doing everything right. Loose boards, heavy equipment, exposed wiring. Workers should be protected by worker’s compensation, but in some cases a third-party claim, that is, a claim against another party’s insurance company, may be necessary.
Construction Site Accidents
Some types of accidents on a job site are the responsibility of the contractor. A worker is entitled to a safe workplace, no matter where that workplace is located, and a construction site is no different. Whether the site is a single-family dwelling or a multistory office complex, the general contractor will be liable, and worker’s compensation insurance will be the first claim a worker should make in situations like:
- Unsafe worksites, inadequate safety equipment, improper shoring;
- Lack of adequate supervision or manpower;
- Negligence by workers, managers, or employees;
- Onsite accidents.
If you are involved in a workplace accident that does not require emergency medical care, the first thing you should do is report it to your direct supervisor. This is required by worker’s compensation to show that the injury was a result of a workplace injury. Your employer may also have a specific doctor or acute care clinic you must report to.
Do not wait to report an injury, no matter how minor. If you must bring a claim later, this lack of reporting can make it difficult to prove that your injury was suffered at the job site. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Worker’s compensation only covers the cost of the injury and treatment itself. Under state and Federal law, you will not be able to recover for pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and other potential damages (sometimes called “special damages”) that may flow from the injury.
Third-party claims are made when someone besides your employer is at fault for the injury. On a job site, injuries could be caused by another party in a variety of ways.
- Employee liability. On a large job site, subcontractors have their own teams of workers handling jobs. If the negligence of those employees were to cause your injury, you might have a claim against the subcontractor’s insurance, rather than filing a worker’s comp claim.
- Product liability. If the equipment itself fails, a legal concept called “product liability” comes into play. Even if the job supervisor has kept the site perfectly safe, a faulty piece of machinery could still fail and cause a serious injury. In that case, a claim against the manufacturer could be possible, instead of worker’s comp.
Personal Injury Lawyers at Patterson Dahlberg Can Help You
Deciding which insurance claim to file can be complicated. If you are injured on the job, once you have reported to your supervisor and seen the doctor, you should consult an attorney to review your options.
In cases of construction injuries, your worker’s compensation claim may be filed automatically by your company. This does not prevent you from filing a personal injury claim if one is warranted. This is one reason to consult a lawyer before you settle with the insurance company.
In Minnesota, there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim. The statute begins to run on the date of the injury, so you have a very narrow window to file any third-party claims, especially if you were badly hurt. If you decide you want to file a third-party claim, you should discuss it with a firm that specializes in construction injury claims.