More than Meets the Eye: Third-Party Injury Claims

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Workers who are injured in construction accidents caused by another person or company’s negligence deserve compensation. If the accident was caused by more than just the injured worker’s direct employer, it is possible to lodge a third-party injury claim. Workers injured on the job can claim workers’ compensation from their employer. However, in California, an injured worker can lodge a third-party claim against another party whose negligence contributed to the accident. For example, a worker who falls from improperly designed scaffolding can claim workers’ compensation from their employer and lodge a third-party claim against the scaffolding manufacturer. All of the different parties involved in complex construction projects can share responsibility for an accident. Subcontractors, property owners, general contractors, architects and engineers all bear some responsibility for construction site safety. Manufacturers or suppliers who provide unsafe equipment and supplies are legally responsible. Bystanders or trespassers on construction sites can also create hazards. If a property is owned by a government entity, that entails another layer of potential third-party claims. Damages not covered by workers’ compensation can be recovered through a third-party claim. Workers’ comp only pays one-third of the worker’s lost wages while, under a third-party claim, it may be possible to recover 100 percent of lost wages. Diminished earning capacity, medical costs, future medical costs, pain and suffering and loss of consortium can all be claimed. In California, workers who are partly at fault in their accident can still pursue a third-party claim. However, the amount of compensation they receive is reduced by the percentage of their responsibility in the accident. Under the principle of comparative negligence, if the court finds the worker is 25 percent responsible, then they only receive 75 percent of the total settlement. If you were injured in a construction accident, consult a qualified personal injury attorney to hold third parties responsible for their negligence. At the Law Offices of John E. Hill, we thoroughly investigate construction accidents, working to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable.

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