CHICAGO, IL – Construction sites pose a dangerous threat to the lives of construction workers. Catastrophic injuries can occur from defective construction equipment, lack of supervision, improper equipment, and improper training. Illinois negligence and workers’ compensation laws may apply to specific injury related cases. For example, a worker may not meet the eligibility requirement for a workers’ compensation claim, but they may have a claim against a manufacturer of construction equipment or a sub-contractor.
In Illinois, construction accidents are typically resolved according to common law principles of negligence law. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act works to resolve the claims of workers. Government entities may owe workers a duty to maintain highway conditions and eliminate any harmful risks to workers.
Construction injury claims often entail filing a negligence claim against one or multiple parties. It’s common for there to be more than one defendant which can include a subcontractor, government agency, architect, engineer, manufacturer, distributor, or general contractor. The worker filing the claim must prove they have been injured under negligence law and Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
There are at least six different ways that you can receive compensation for your construction injury:
- Workers’ compensation claim
- Lawsuit against one of the other construction companies or subcontractors on the work site
- Product liability lawsuit when construction equipment at the work site malfunctions
- Filing a claim against a coworker that caused the injury
- A lawsuit against your own employer (if exceptions from the workers’ compensation apply)
- Filing a court case against the company that’s responsible for maintaining the work site
Lawsuits Against Subcontractors
While you cannot file a lawsuit as a plaintiff against your own employer for a construction injury accident, there are multiple parties you may hold liable for the negligence. There may be several contractors or subcontractors.
Unlike a workers’ compensation, a personal injury lawsuit requires you prove that someone failed to live up to their standard of care. For example, if you are a subcontractor, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent general contractor if they were at fault for the injuries you sustained.
Product Liability Lawsuits
Defective tools and machinery are the main causes of construction site injuries. Some examples of different machinery that could injure a worker may include:
- Front loaders
- Machine Tools
You can win a product liability lawsuit if you are able to prove that construction equipment was defectively manufactured, designed, or the company did not adequately warn you of the dangers of the machinery or equipment. For example, the design of a product could be unreasonably dangerous, in which you could receive compensation for. Alternatively, if a crane was not properly assembled, you may also have a product liability case.
Negligent Lawsuits Against A Third Party
There are many other entities you can hold accountable for your injuries through a third-party personal injury claim. For example, the property owner that controls the construction site may be separate from your employer.
You could also bring a civil lawsuit forward against your coworker if they were negligent and it caused your injury; however, you would need to consider the likelihood if they’d be able to pay the verdict.
Workers’ Compensation Claim
The great thing about workers’ compensation claim for a worker is that it is a no-fault system. Meaning if you were partially or completely to blame for what happened, you can still receive compensation. The downside to this type of claim is that the damages you can be paid are limited.
Workers’ compensation benefits allow for the worker to be paid for your lost wages from work that you have actually missed, the cost of medical bills, and other medical expenses. You may also be paid for lost earnings capacity from a construction related injury. However, you cannot receive non-economic damages in this type of claim. This means you cannot recover compensation for physical pain and suffering or punitive damages.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Own Employer
When filing an injury lawsuit, you ideally would want to file a personal injury claim against your own employer. A general rule typically is a worker must be able to prove much more than negligence.
Illinois law have very limited exceptions that would allow you to sue. You typically can only file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer if they acted intentionally or if they didn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. Illinois also does not have a gross negligent standard, as there are in many other states.
What to do If You’ve Been Injured at a Construction Site
If you’re working on a construction site and have been injured, you should call an experience personal injury attorney right away. An attorney can help identify the negligent party, and in these types of cases, there’s often multiple parties to be held accountable.
The seasoned practitioners of Dinizulu Law Group have secured multi-million dollar verdicts and policies for our clients by holding negligent parties accountable for work-related injuries. Our attorneys have the resources and knowledge that is able to secure damages for your case. Call our office today for a free, no obligation consultation at (312) 384-1920 or visit our website for more information.