The construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations individuals can have. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 20% of all workplace fatalities each year revolve around construction jobs. Here, we want to discuss how workers’ compensation operates to protect employees after a construction accident.
Workers’ Compensation for Construction Injuries
In the state of California, nearly every employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. When a person files a workers’ compensation claim after a legitimate injury or illness caused by a construction job, they should be able to receive complete compensation for all medical expenses related to the injury or illness. Additionally, if a person is unable to work for an extended period of time, they will likely be able to receive temporary disability insurance that covers a significant portion of their lost wages.
Workers’ compensation claims related to a construction incident will be filed just like any other work injury claim. In California, a workplace injury or illness must be reported to the employer within 30 days of the incident occurring or from the date of diagnosis. However, this is just the reporting deadline. There is an overall one-year statute of limitations in place for workplace injury claims. Individuals who do not file their workers’ compensation claim within one year after the incident occurs will likely not be able to recover compensation for their losses.
Third-Party Work Injury Claims
The construction industry is a little bit different than other types of jobs individuals work. Aside from being incredibly dangerous, this is an industry where multiple companies typically come together for every project completed. For example, there may be an overall construction company responsible for the job site, but there are likely many individual contractors and subcontractors from separate companies also present in completing work. This can lead to several issues when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance.
If a person sustains an injury at a construction job site and it is discovered that the injury was caused by someone other than a coworker or the employer, then the injury victim may be able to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. For example, if a person works for the overall construction company responsible for the job site but sustains an injury caused by a contractor brought in to handle all of the plumbing, then the injured worker may be able to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the plumbing contractor or company.
Third-party injury claims are filed in civil court in California and are separate from workers’ compensation claims. Individuals who are able to successfully prove that another party caused their construction injury will likely be able to recover more compensation than they would if they were to rely only on the workers’ compensation. This includes coverage of medical expenses as well as total recovery of lost wages. Additionally, individuals are able to claim pain and suffering damages and recover compensation, something they are not able to do through the workers’ compensation system.