Construction Accidents and Third Party Claims
When an employee is injured on a job site, particularly on a construction job site, the injuries sustained can be serious. Heavy equipment is typically involved on large commercial construction projects and it is not unusual for construction workers on large construction projects to be exposed to a variety of different dangers during the work day. If an employee is injured on the job, under our Workers’ Compensation laws, the claim will primarily have to be brought against the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier which, of course, will restrict the employee’s rights to payment of medical expenses and limited lost wages, however, when the negligence of a non-employer/third party is involved, it is sometimes possible to obtain a liability judgment against the responsible third party.
A case that comes to mind which we handled involved a forklift owned by a third party which injured an employee who was on the job working for his employer. The driver of the forklift worked for a different company and when he ran over our client. Unfortunately, the client’s leg had to be amputated. This case involved not only workers’ compensation benefits but also a third party liability claim against the at fault forklift driver and his employer. Although Motions to Dismiss were filed based on alleged employer immunity, the Court denied those motions and held that where there was evidence of the negligence of a third party, the injured employee of another company (our client) could proceed with his liability claim. Shortly after that ruling was obtained, we obtained an excellent settlement for our client.In those cases where an employee is injured on the job and sustains a serious or permanent personal injury, the case must be carefully reviewed to see if there is the availability of a potential third party claim. Victims of negligence deserve to be compensated and if third party negligence injures an innocent employee at a construction site or otherwise, then that third party should bear the liability for the damages inflicted on the innocent victim.