When people think about injuries that happen on construction sites, they often assume claims will go through the workers' compensation insurance system. However, there are several scenarios where someone may want to consider filing an injury claim. Let's look at what these scenarios are and how they might apply to your case.
The At-Fault Party Isn't Your Employer
One of the simplest reasons a construction injury lawyer might take a case is because the employer didn't play a role in the incident. Notably, the definition of your employer extends to their employees, and it may extend to certain contractors and designees if an agreement is in place.
However, it's common for injuries caused by subcontractors and involving construction site employees to happen. There may also be incidents involving suppliers, investors, and other parties that come in and out of a location.
Gross Negligence, Wanton Disregard, or Malice
Workers' comp almost exclusively covers what is called ordinary negligence. If someone leaves a loose board sitting around, for example, any resulting injuries are considered ordinary negligence. No one meant for you to get hurt, and the events leading to the accident were honest mistakes. People mess up, and that's largely what the modern compensation system addresses.
Higher orders of fault, though, are often not covered by workers' compensation insurance. If a boss ordered an unqualified employee to reach into a dangerous machine to unjam it, for example, that might be seen as a higher form of negligence. The logic is that they should have known better than to ask someone to perform that task because they also should have known the machine could injure a person.
Imaginably, malice falls into this category, too. An employee or employer assaulting someone might lead to an injury claim rather than a comp case.
Most construction sites have lots of equipment. Every machine has the potential to cause harm, and liability may rest with the manufacturer. Suppose there was a switch in a machine, and it failed to shut the device off in a dangerous situation. You might have a claim against the manufacturer.
Denied Comp Claims
Lastly, a bad-faith denial of a comp claim may form the basis of an eventual injury claim. For example, an employer might lie to the insurance company about what happened or how involved the employee was with the business.
Similar issues can arise from the improper classification of people as non-employees. Many employers abuse the 1099 contracting system, for example, to avoid paying for comp insurance. However, that may expose them to injury liability.
If you have additional questions, reach out to a local construction injury attorney.