Suing a Third Party for Construction Accident Injuries

Construction workers hurt on the job may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, but only up to certain limits. Severe or catastrophic injures can result in damages far in excess of what workers’ comp will pay for. An employee is legally barred from suing his or her employer outside of the workers’ comp system. However, claims are often filed against third parties who may have been partially at fault for the injury-causing accident.

Third parties responsible for construction accidents may include the following:

  • Site owners and managers — Generally, owners and managers have a duty to keep their premises safe for people who might reasonably be expected to enter. This means maintaining the property and remediating or marking off known hazards.
  • Contractors and subcontractors — Any company involved in construction activity is responsible for ensuring that they do not create dangers for workers on the site, including those who are not their own employers.
  • Manufacturers of defective equipment — Liability can arise when injuries are caused by equipment that is not properly designed or manufactured, as well as by equipment that is not adequately labeled or warned about its potential dangers.
  • Other parties having contact with the site or project — Injuries can be caused by exposure to toxic substances left on site, by traffic accidents involving delivery trucks, by use of substandard materials in site structures or by faulty architectural or engineering designs.

The main benefit of filing a third-party claim is the potential to recover more in damages. Workers’ compensation benefits are limited to reimbursement for medical expenses and partial lost wages, the latter of which is usually temporary in duration. However, a third-party claim can allow recovery of additional damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of quality of life, including sexual dysfunction. There can also be a claim by the worker’s spouse for loss of consortium, namely the services that a spouse would normally provide. These non-economic damages can be far greater in amount than the monetary losses covered by workers’ comp.

In rare cases when a third party is proven to have committed an egregiously wrongful act, there may be an award of punitive damages, which are designed to punish the responsible party for their wrongdoing and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct. This could include an assault by a coworker or an act of reckless endangerment by a third party.

Third-party claims can be valuable options for construction accident victims who have been injured due to the negligence or misconduct of others. An experienced personal injury attorney can help an injured worker recover the full extent of the financial compensation they need and deserve.

Seigel Law in Ridgewood represents victims of construction accidents throughout northern New Jersey, including Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties. Please call 201-444-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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