One of the most dangerous jobs to have when it comes to workplace accidents is a construction job. The construction industry has one of the highest workplace injury rates in the country year after year. It makes sense, too, given the vast number of ways a construction worker can get injured on the job, from minor cuts to serious injuries. Every year, there are many construction worker injuries and deaths that occur on jobsites.
Most construction workers know that when they are hurt on the job, they will get Workers’ Compensation benefits via the mandated Workers’ Compensation Insurance employers carry for such accidents.
This form of insurance, which the state of Delaware requires of almost all employers, provides wage loss benefits and coverage for medical expenses. In some cases, injured construction workers can seek more compensation for their injuries above and beyond Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Construction Industry Work-Related Injury Statistics
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that there are on average, about 5,000 work-related deaths each year in the United States. Out of those 5,000, 20 percent are in the construction industry.
That 20 percent further proves that jobs in the construction industry are some of the most dangerous. Hazards are everywhere at a construction jobsite. Nearly 60 percent of the construction industry deaths are caused by:
- Falling objects.
- Crane accidents.
- Caught in-between pieces of equipment.
Most of these claims will be covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, some of these incidents will involve negligence from a third party, and the injured worker can file a lawsuit against them as well.
Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Third-Party Lawsuits
A Workers’ Compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit are two very different things. As previously said, all you get in a Workers’ Compensation claim is your medical expenses reimbursed and your wage loss compensated. The wage loss would be set at two-thirds of your average weekly gross wages when you resume work. You only receive that much until you return back to work. However, with a third-party liability lawsuit, you can seek much more compensation for your injuries.
With a third-party liability lawsuit, you can recoup any unpaid medical bills and wage loss that was not covered, but you also get to claim damages pain and suffering. The addition of these damages can add a significant amount of money that the injured worker might receive, above and beyond what they got from the Workers’ Compensation insurance claim.
Other Damages Available in Third-Party Liability Claims
There are other types of compensation that plaintiffs in third-party liability claims may pursue. A loss of consortium claim can be filed by the spouse of the injured employee as part of the lawsuit. This sort of claim reimburses the spouse for the loss of services and comfort and care that would have been provided by the injured worker owing to the work injury.
In rare cases, an injured plaintiff can seek punitive damages from the at-fault party when their actions are outrageous, intentional, or grossly negligent. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant, as opposed to compensate the injured plaintiff.
Examples of Negligent Conduct by Third Parties on Construction Sites
After a construction accident, an option is to pursue Workers’ Compensation benefits. If an incident is caused by the negligence of a third-party, injured construction worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
On most large construction sites, a general contractor is in control of everything. Then there are various subcontractors on the job site doing specific tasks, such as electrical, plumbing, roofing, masonry work, scaffolding, architectural, and engineering. If any of these subcontractors did something that was negligent and caused another worker to be injured, they would be responsible for the damages to that worker.
Examples of cases where third parties were held liable to injured construction workers include:
- Malfunctioning equipment that caused injuries.
- Improper set up of scaffolding or using substandard materials in scaffolding causing a collapse.
- Lack of safety devices such as fall protection devices and systems.
- Faulty blueprints and designs by the architects, or engineers that cause walls and portions of the building to collapse.
- Lack of proper safety rules, procedures, and controls that the general contractor should have put in place.
- Collapsed wall or ditch constructed or fabricated by another subcontractor.
- Lack of warning or protection against falling in unguarded holes or pits.
- Work-related motor vehicle accidents caused by third parties.
- One contractor being struck by heavy construction machinery that is negligence driven by another contractor.
- Faulty wiring by the electrical contractor, causing electrocution risk.
- Subcontractor is negligent and drops something heavy from up high.
- Negligent exposure to toxic chemicals and substances.
Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Fight for Your Rights After a Construction Accident
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may have other options besides collecting Workers’ Compensation. It is possible that you may have a third-party liability claim, which may offer additional funds for pain and suffering and other damages. Our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state. Call us at (302) 427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.