Construction is one of the country’s largest economic sectors. Millions of people with families are directly or indirectly employed in construction. They’re not just the carpenters, electricians and laborers. They’re architects, engineers, developers, planners, lawyers and secretaries too. On an actual hands-on basis though, construction work is some of the most dangerous work in the country.
Construction workers are exposed to a greater risk of injury or fatality than any job sector in the country. Somebody just passing by a construction site might be exposed to risk of injury from construction activity too. Both California and federal laws were enacted to protect construction workers and the general public from construction accidents. Nearly all construction accidents are preventable. The Yagoubzadeh Law Firm, a Los Angeles construction accident la wfirm, is dedicated to its belief that the construction industry should be held accountable for construction-related accidents. Common construction accidents include but aren’t limited to:
- Falls, including falls from ladders, scaffolding and elevations
- Collapsed walls or structures
- Falling objects
- Fires and explosions
- Electrical accidents
- Crane and hoist accidents
- Defective equipment
Workers’ compensation might not be the only remedy
When you’re hurt at work in the course and scope of your employment by an anticipated and foreseeable risk of that employment, you’re eligible for benefits under the California Workers’ Compensation Act. That’s usually an employee’s sole and exclusive remedy when they’re hurt at their job. Construction jobs are somewhat unique though. Workers’ compensation benefits might not be the sole and exclusive remedy for an injured construction worker. Other avenues of recovery might be available.
Third party liability
Many different construction companies employing many different people might be involved in a single project. It’s perfectly foreseeable that an employee of one company might injure or kill an employee of another company in an accident. For example, Allan is an electrician for ABC Electric, and he’s on an eight foot ladder wiring some lighting in a parking garage that’s opening soon. He used due care and caution in marking his work area. Barry is a driver for XYZ Material Supply, and he’s delivering a load of conduit to the job site, but he’s texting while driving. Barry enters the parking garage, and turns right, but Allan is there on the ladder. Barry looks down at his phone when he’s coming around the corner, and his delivery truck slams into the ladder, throwing Allan onto the truck and then onto the ground. Allan has a traumatic brain injury, a fractured neck, shattered right shoulder and a fractured pelvis. Emergency brain surgery is needed to remove a blood clot between Allan’s brain and skull, and other later surgeries are needed on his neck and shoulder. Doctors doubt that Allan will ever return to construction work again. In this situation, Allan will need a Los Angeles construction accident lawyer to defend his rights.
Why make a third party claim?
In Allan’s case, it’s clear that another employee from another company was responsible for the accident. On that basis, rather than a workers’ compensation claim, Allan can file an actual lawsuit against Barry and his employer. It’s important to realize that Allan’s lawsuit against Barry and his employer doesn’t replace Allan’s workers’ compensation claim against his own employer. Instead the lawsuit against Barry and his employer can be filed at the same time as the workers’ compensation claim. Both cases can be maintained at the same time.
Why workers’ compensation is insufficient
Workers’ compensation laws permit recovery of medical bills and lost earnings by an injured worker. There are limits on what an employer must pay, and workers’ compensation benefits don’t contemplate pain and suffering and other financial losses. That’s why a third party claim might be an injured worker’s only choice to receive full compensation for his or her injuries. There are no damages limits to a construction accident lawsuit, even in cases involving wrongful death. Remember, it’s highly unlikely that Allan will ever return to construction work, and by the way, he’s right handed too.
Third party product liability claims
Workers are also injured by dangerously defective tools or machinery. Product liability law operates to protect them. In these cases, the manufacturer, distributor or retail seller of a dangerously defective product can be held liable for injuries that the product causes, even if the product was supplied by the employer of the injured worker. Three types of defects might cause a party to be liable in these cases:
- Design defects before the product was even manufactured
- Manufacturing defects at the factory during the making or assembly of the product
- Marketing defects like insufficient instructions or inadequate safety warnings
These product liability cases can also be brought at the same time as a workers’ compensation claim. Like typical third party construction accident claims and as opposed to workers’ compensation claims, there are no limits on damages.
Both the liability and damages aspects of construction accident litigation can be highly complex. If you were injured, or a family member was killed in a construction accident, you’ll want a law firm that is knowledgeable and skilled in both personal injury and construction liability law. The Los Angeles construction accident attorneys at the Yagoubzadeh Law Firm are extensively experienced in personal injury and construction accident litigation. We’re committed and aggressive advocates, but we’re compassionate too. Judges and insurance companies know us and respect us. There’s a reason for that. We’re dedicated and successful advocates for injury victims. Don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation and case evaluation on any injury case. You can use our live chat feature too. We’re available 24 hours a day. There are no fees unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you.