IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED ON THE JOB, YOU MAY NOT BE LIMITED TO WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFITS. SPEAK WITH ONE OF OUR CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT LAWYERS TO LEARN IF YOU HAVE A CLAIM FOR FULL COMPENSATION.
Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States with thousands of construction workers injured or killed on the job each year. Injured construction workers are often told that their only recourse is the limited remedies available under workers’ compensation.
While it is important to maximize your workers’ compensation recovery, many construction accidents are the result of negligence committed by someone other than your employer.
In these cases, you may have a personal injury claim to recover all damages suffered by you in addition to workers comp. The attorneys at The BFH Law Group is available to speak to you about your case to see if we can help.
Maximizing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in New Orleans
Although you may be entitled to damages due to another person’s negligence, it is important that you maximize your workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation is available to most workers injured on the job. The upside of workers comp is you should begin to receive limited compensation benefits soon after your job injury. Workers comp should also ensure that you receive the necessary medical treatment.
The unfortunate reality of workers comp is that employers and their insurance carriers often work hard to limit the amount they have to pay on your claim.
They may send you to a doctor who refuses to fully evaluate your injuries.
Many insurance adjusters will actively push to have a physician release you to work when you are unable.
In addition, most insurance carriers will not tell you of all the benefits available to injured workers and pressure you to settle your claim for significantly less than its real value.
It is important that you know that you have the right to select your own doctor in each specialty. In fact, we recommend all clients to refuse to go to any physicians recommended by an injured workers’ employer or insurance carrier.
If you feel your employer is trying to suspend or limit your compensation benefits, call us. We can help you maximize your workers’ compensation recovery.
When Can You Sue Your Employer for a Workplace Accident?
In some situations, a construction worker can sue his employer for an on-the-job injury. These situations include:
- Gross negligence in causing your injury.
- Intentionally causing your injury.
- Your employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
These situations are rare. Most employers carry the necessary workers’ compensation insurance and courts are reluctant to find that an employer intentionally or recklessly caused a worker to get injured.
When Can You Sue Others For Your Workplace Accident?
There are three common scenarios in which an injured construction worker can sue someone for damages.
Defective Tools or Machinery
Many construction accidents are caused by a defective tool or piece of machinery. When a defective tool or piece of machinery causes an accident, it is important to document what exactly happened. Employers are required to investigate and report work accidents and employee injuries.
When injured on the job, you should carefully and thoroughly report what happened and provide a description of the tool or machinery that caused the accident.
In addition, you should also do the following:
- Take pictures of the accident scene
- Take pictures of the tool or machinery involved in the accident
- Get a copy of serial numbers for the tool or machinery
- Learn if the tool or machinery is owned by your employer, someone else, or is leased
- Ask your employer to preserve the machinery so it can be inspected
You may have a good claim against the manufacturer, seller, owner, or lessor of the tool or machinery that caused your injury.
In workplace accidents, a third party is someone other than your employer whose actions caused or contributed to your workplace injury.
Many construction projects utilize many companies to perform different jobs on the project.
When one of these parties fail to perform his or her job properly, others may become the victim of their negligence.
An injured construction worker has the option of filing a lawsuit against the negligent third-party to recover all damages incurred including lost wages, loss of earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, and general damages for pain and suffering.
Common examples of accidents or injuries caused by negligent third parties on a construction site include:
- Negligently operated equipment
- Crane and forklift accidents
- Toxic exposures
- Falls due to defective ladders or scaffolding
- Falling objects
If you believe your accident was caused by a third-party you should gather as much information as possible and also ask your employer to investigate the cause of the incident. You should try to take as many photos as possible and gather the names of people who witnessed the incident. The general contractor or project foreman should also have a list of what activities were being conducted on the day of the accident in addition to a list of all contractors involved in the project.
Exposure to Toxic Substances
Construction workers have long been victims of toxic exposures including asbestos, silica, benzene, and other harmful substances that can cause deadly diseases.
Depending on the date in which you were exposed to these substances, you may be able to sue your employer for injuries caused by toxic exposure.
You are also entitled to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers and sellers of the toxic substance that you believe caused your condition.
If you believe have suffered damages due to toxic exposure, call us to discuss the specifics of your claim.
You are likely entitled to both a workers’ compensation remedy as well as a potentially larger recovery against the manufacturer of the product that caused you harm.
What is the Benefit of Finding a Negligent Third Party?
To understand the benefit of bringing a third-party claim you first need to understand that workers’ compensation is a very limited remedy.
An injured worker is entitled to no more than two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage while recovering from a work injury.
The problem with this is most insurance companies work hard to prevent you from recovering the comp benefits you are entitled to.
The sad truth about workers’ compensation is even when you maximize your reward, it still is not enough to provide financial security following a significant injury.
In a third-party personal injury lawsuit, there is no limit to the amount you can recover. Your damages will not be decided by an insurance adjuster. Instead, it will be decided by a jury of your peers who will likely be sympathetic to you. In a personal injury case, you may recover the following:
- All past lost wages
- Future anticipated lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity for individuals who cannot return to their regular work following a workplace injury
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Long-term care
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
In third-party personal injury cases, it is not uncommon to recover substantially more than what you could recover through the workers’ compensation system alone.
For serious or catastrophic injuries where a person is rendered permanently disabled, a third-party lawsuit is often the only path for financial security.
How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit?
In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit against a third-party.
It is also important to remember that you need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days of the day of the accident and that you have one year from the last payment of workers’ compensation benefits to filing a disputed claim for compensation.
Contact a New Orleans Construction Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a construction or industrial accident, you should speak with an attorney to ensure your rights are protected. On one hand, you need to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits while also investigating a potential personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party.
The attorneys at the BFH Law Group are former insurance company attorneys who understand what it takes to maximize your recovery. Contact us at (504) 273-0444 to schedule a free consultation.