Construction is a dangerous line of work involving large equipment, heavy objects, specialized tools, and often heights. Recognizing the dangers, governments use local, state, and federal laws to protect construction workers and the public from accidents at construction sites. However, accidents still happen. If you are involved in a construction accident, the personal injury attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. may be able to assist you in recovering for your damages. With decades of experience representing accident victims, our attorneys are trial-tested and aggressively fight for the money you deserve.
On-the-Job Construction Site Injuries
If you are injured in a construction accident while on the job, often your first form of recovery for your damages is workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance your employer must carry to protect employees injured at work. Workers’ compensation covers your lost wages and medical benefits while you are recovering from an injury.
Most workers’ compensation claims generally involve filing a claim with an employer’s insurance company. If the insurance company denies a claim for workers’ compensation, it may be necessary to seek further review with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation board. The goal of workers’ compensation laws is to speed up the process so that injured workers are compensated quickly, instead of waiting for a lawsuit to work its way through the court system.
Workers’ compensation laws also help workers because they do not require a worker to show the employer is at fault for the worker’s injury. If a worker is injured on the job, then the worker is generally entitled to benefits. The trade-off of this no-fault coverage is that in most cases, workers are prohibited from filing a lawsuit against their employers for injuries and damages that exceed workers’ compensation benefits.
Unfortunately, accepting workers’ compensation is not optional. Under Florida law, if workers’ compensation benefits are available, an injured worker must take the benefits and is not allowed to sue his or her employer for additional injuries. Accordingly, in most cases, an employer is immune from lawsuits based on its negligence.
Exceptions to Workers’ Compensation Immunity
However, there are rare exceptions to the workers’ compensation immunity. One exception occurs when an employer fails to carry the necessary workers’ compensation insurance policy required by state law. In such a case, the injured employee may choose between payments from a state workers’ compensation fund or suing the employer.
Another exception involves intentional bad conduct on the part of the employer. Intentional bad conduct occurs when an employer deliberately intended to injure the employee or when the employer engaged in conduct that was virtually certain to result in injury or death to an employee and intentionally misrepresented the employee’s risk.
Other exceptions to workers’ compensation immunity involve situations where a third party caused the employee’s injuries. The injured employee may sue a third party as long as the third party is also not working for the same employer. Examples include when an electrical contractor injures a plumbing contractor or when a defective product injures a worker. In those cases, the plumbing contractor may be able to sue the electrical contractor for negligence. Likewise, the worker may be able to sue the product’s manufacturer for negligence.
Because it is a complex area of the law, it can help speak to an attorney to determine whether you have recourse against your employer or a third party resulting from an on-the-job construction accident.
General Liability in a Construction Accident
Other times a construction injury may occur outside an employment situation. For instance, a child might be injured while playing at an improperly secured construction site or a pedestrian might be hurt walking under a crane. In situations like those, the injured party is not bound by the employee-employer relationship and may sue those responsible under the legal theory of negligence.
Lawsuits under the theory of negligence involve accidents where one party’s failure to act reasonably under the circumstances causes harm or injury to another person. Construction accidents often occur where a construction company failed to take reasonable precautions to operate safely that would prevent injury to others.
To recover for injuries sustained in a construction accident, the injured party must show the other construction company had a duty to act reasonably safely toward him or her, that the construction company failed to live up to that duty, that the construction company’s failure actually caused the injury, and that the injured party suffered damages as a result.
Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. Today to Learn About Claims for Construction Accidents
Construction accidents can be devastating, often making it impossible for you to support yourself or your loved ones. While workers’ compensation covers many on-the-job accidents, the facts of your case may allow you to recover against an employer or third party for injuries not covered by workers’ compensation. If you believe you are entitled to recovery for a construction accident, whether on-the-job or not, the experienced attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. can assist you by evaluating your situation. Contact Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. to consult with a trial-tested attorney today.
The Construction Accident Attorneys at Staples, Ellis & Associates serves clients in Pensacola County, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Okaloosa County, Walton County, and throughout Northwest Florida.