3 Legal Options for Injured Construction Workers
If you are a construction worker, your industry puts you at higher risk for injury. It's simply a fact that construction work is inherently dangerous. Yet, because of the way this industry is set up, getting the compensation you need to recover from a serious injury is not always easy and may require professional help. If you are struggling with a construction-related injury, here are three options you have to get the right help.
Option One - Worker's Compensation Benefits
If you are a construction worker who works as an employee, then worker's compensation benefits should be in place to pay for your treatment and recovery. You may even qualify under the benefits plan for a portion of your salary to be paid to you while you are off work. However, sometimes worker's compensation benefits are hard to get, or they are inadequate to fully meet your needs. If you feel that your worker's compensation plan is not paying you adequately, then you need to get help from a worker’s compensation lawyer.
In construction work, however, independent contractors working as sub-contractors are quite common. If you're working as an independent contractor and you are injured on the job, it may appear that worker's compensation insurance doesn't apply to you. In fact, this is one of the reasons many companies will choose to work with independent contractors instead of employees, because they do not want to pay for additional employee benefits.
Before you assume this to be the case, you need to discuss your situation with an attorney. It may be possible to prove that you are working as an employee and therefore are eligible. Often, workers are misclassified as contractors when in fact they are being treated as employees. If you and your attorney can prove that you are misclassified, you will then become eligible for worker's compensation coverage.
Option Two - File an Injury Claim Against the Employer
If you are an independent contractor who is not eligible for worker's compensation insurance, you may be able to file an injury claim against the employer for the injury. This can be effective if the employing company neglected legal duties to provide a safe work environment. If you are working directly for the customer, and the customer failed to inform you of a safety risk at the worksite, you may also be able to file a claim against the party who hired you. This type of claim is handled on a case-by-case basis, and it's always best to discuss your options with an attorney to ensure you understand what is available to you.
Option Three - File an Injury Claim Against Another Party
If the employer or the individual who hired you is not responsible for your injuries, it could be that another entity is. If equipment malfunctioned, the manufacturer could be held liable for your injuries. If the facility where you are working was unsafe, then their liability insurance may be able to cover your treatment. Discussing all of the details of your injury with an attorney will help you identify these particular instances so you can pursue all of your legal options.
In the construction industry, the risk of injury is high. It's important to have your bases covered to ensure you are protected. Yet even with the safest work environment and work strategies in place, you may still find yourself injured on the job. By understanding your legal rights, you will be able to seek the compensation you deserve, so you can move forward after your injury without undue financial hardship.