Is Workers’ Comp My Only Option After A Construction Site Accident?
You suffered serious injuries while working on a construction site. Fortunately, your Illinois workers’ compensation benefits cover a lot of your medical expenses and make up for some of the income you’re losing while you recover.
But while these benefits are welcome and helpful, you find they are still insufficient to cover all the losses you suffered because of the accident. The amount of your workers’ comp benefits leave plenty of ongoing expenses unpaid and don’t fully replace the amount of your paycheck. And your benefits don’t provide anything for the pain and suffering and other intangible damages you incurred because of your construction site injury.
However, if someone other than your employer was wholly or partially responsible for your injuries, you may be able to recover substantial damages for those injuries beyond workers’ compensation benefits.
The Workers’ Comp Trade-Off
Many construction workers, perhaps you among them, may believe that filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is the sole source of money for paying their medical bills and replacing lost earnings after a construction site injury.
Those folks are correct – most of the time. After some accidents, however, injured construction workers may be able to file a civil personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation and damages from parties other than their employer. These damages may far exceed the amounts provided by workers’ compensation.
As does every other state, Illinois has a separate system, distinct from civil courts, dedicated solely to addressing work injuries. The Illinois workers’ compensation program has two main objectives which provide advantages to employees and employers alike:
- Getting injured workers the compensation, care, benefits, and resources they need quickly without them having to file a personal injury lawsuit or prove that their employer was negligent or otherwise at fault for their injuries; and
- Protecting employers from the costs and disruptions of personal injury lawsuits every time an employee suffers a work injury by prohibiting such suits except in very limited circumstances.
As noted, the problem for many injured construction workers is that workers’ comp benefits may not cover all of the costs of their medical care and rehabilitation or be sufficient to support them and their families while they cannot work. Additionally, other compensation that would have otherwise been available in a civil lawsuit, such as damages for pain and suffering, are not included in workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Doesn’t Shield Third-Parties From Construction Injury Claims
But when the blame for a construction site accident rests with a third-party, meaning someone other than the direct employer, the law does not shield such parties from personal injury lawsuits as it does employers. This can include contractors and subcontractors
For example, an injured construction worker may be able to pursue claims for damages against other individuals and companies when:
- They fall when a defective ladder collapses
- They suffer electrocution injuries due to faulty wiring on the job site
- They fall from unstable or improperly constructed scaffolding erected by a subcontractor
- Scaffolding collapses due to a design or manufacturing defect, causing injuries
- A hidden defect on the site causes a construction worker to fall and injure himself
- A driver plows into the job site, striking a worker
- A defective or unreasonably dangerous tool, piece of equipment, or machine on the site caused the injury
- A toxic substance manufactured by a third-party was the source of the injury
Given how much potential compensation may be obtained from third-parties, and how that money could help you pay your bills, aid your recovery, and provide for your family, you should never assume that workers’ compensation is the only source of damages for your construction site injury.
You should always consult with an experienced construction accident injury attorney to explore the potential liability of third parties to determine if a civil lawsuit may be possible in your situation.
Injured In A Construction Site Accident? Call Kirk Moyer Today To Find Out Your Options For Compensation.
Lake County workers’ compensation lawyer, Kirk Moyer, has earned a reputation for service and success representing and recovering substantial damages for injury victims in Lake County and throughout Chicagoland, including construction workers injured in on-the-job accidents. Please contact Kirk today to arrange for your FREE initial consultation.