Construction accidents cause thousands of serious injuries among construction workers each year.
When a construction site accident occurs,
the owners, architects, insurance companies and manufacturers
of equipment can be held responsible for inadequate safety provisions.
The general contractor and all subcontractors are required to
provide a reasonably safe site, to warn of hazards inherent in
the site and work, to hire careful employees, to coordinate job
safety and to supervise compliance with safety specifications.
Lawyers will pursue any party who may be responsbile for the accident. Therefore they will not confine their investigation to just the employer. Lawyers and investigators will look for defective products or unsafe conditions created by non-employer subcontractors or other (third parties) who may have substantial insurance coverage, often millions of dollars.
Manufacturers of construction equipment are responsible designing and maintaining safe products. Defective or dangerous products may include the following: scaffolding, cranes, power tools, derricks, hoists, conveyors, woodworking tools, ladders, winches, trucks, graters, scrapers, tractors, bulldozers, forklifts, back hoes, heavy equipment, boilers, pressure vessels, gas detectors and other types of construction equipment.
It is often possible to find liable third
parties in the event of an accident or injury. Since most sites
involve many subcontractors,
it is very common to locate several potential third party defendants.
The lawyer may also consider claims against the general contractor,
who may be responsible for supervision and my be contractually
responsible for the injury. In more complex cases, the legal
principles of Agency and analysis of Corporate law may lead to
sophisticated determinations as to who is technically an "employee"
and who the "third parties" are in a given situation.
Workers' Compensation law is designed to help injured workers as well as employers in dealing with the problems of health insurance. The Workers' Compensation Act provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job or suffer an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment. The benefits under Workers' Comp include weekly payments based on a percentage of the employee's average weekly wage for temporary total disability, partial disability, permanent and total disability and permanent loss of function and disfigurement. Workers' Comp also covers medical expenses for treatment that is reasonable, necessary and related to the industrial injury and vocational rehabilitation services.
Unfortunately Workers' Compensation alone may be insufficient compensation especially in the case of very serious and catastrophic personal injuries. As indicated above it is necessary to look for a negligent third party such as the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product, improper safety devices or some other party who is at fault. These cases require immediate attention and expertise because the responsible third party may be difficult to locate and evidence (such as a piece of defective machinery) needs to be preserved.
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