Your Options When You Have Been Injured on a Construction Site
Construction sites can be very dangerous places and as a result, construction workers face considerable risk of injury in their average work day. Not surprisingly, construction sites are highly regulated and must conform to stringent safety codes to protect workers, but accidents happen even still. At times, these accidents are simply the result of bad luck – but at other times, they are caused by negligence on the part of the employer or other third parties. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may have different options to consider in order to secure compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured on a construction site in Indianapolis, you can schedule a free consultation with the legal team at Klezmer Maudlin PC. These are some of the basic things to keep in mind.
Option 1: Worker’s Compensation
Worker’s compensation is an insurance scheme regulated at the state level that is mandatory for most employers. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide a monetary compensation to workers who have been injured on the job. In order to be eligible to receive workers’ compensation, a worker must be an employee of the company, and must have been injured in a work-related activity. Worker’s compensation will cover out of pocket expenses such as medical bills and lost wages, and will also cover things like job retraining if an injury means that a worker can no longer perform his or her previous job.
There are some caveats to understand if you decide to seek compensation through this plan. First, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation. There is a growing trend among employers to resist creating formal employee/employer relationships with their workers, largely because independent contractors don’t have the same rights as employees to things like benefits, job security or compensation. Further, it must be clearly established that the injury occurred in circumstances directly related to the performance of the job. There are some grey areas here that should be discussed with a lawyer in order to be sure that your rights are protected.
The advantage of the workers’ compensation plan is that it is a no-fault scheme. This means that there is no need to prove that the employer somehow caused or allowed the accident to happen. It also means that even if the employee was at fault and caused the accident his or herself, they are still entitled to compensation. Importantly, when you accept workers’ compensation, you are barred from suing the employee for any liability in causing the accident. This means that if you are an employee and caused the accident, this is the best way to pursue compensation.
Option 2: Personal Injury
If you feel that the injury was caused on the part of employer, especially if they failed to meet the safety codes established for the site or through failure to properly train its workers, then you may find it better to pursue compensation through a personal injury suit rather than through worker’s compensation. Under the law, compensation for personal injury will include out of pocket expenses, but may also consider an amount for pain and suffering or psychological trauma as a result of the injury. In order to be compensated for a personal injury, you must be able to demonstrate liability, that is, the responsibility of the employer (or third party, such as a machine manufacturer) for the accident as a result of negligence. You cannot pursue a personal injury claim if you have accepted worker’s compensation.
In order to determine which option is the most appropriate method for you to seek compensation, be sure to consult with an experienced lawyer.