Construction accidents happen every day, and they result in all sorts of injuries, from very minor to catastrophic. Claims for injuries stemming from construction accidents are often complicated cases that require a detailed and careful review in order to determine who may bring a personal injury claim due to a construction accident, what claims can be pursued, and against whom such claims can be made.
Who can Bring a Personal Injury Claim for Injuries Resulting From a Construction Accident?
While anyone injured as a result of a construction accident is potentially able to bring a claim, there are some important limitations.
Typically, construction accidents involve workers employed by companies working at the job site where an accident occurs, and these workers will often be limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim for their injuries, no matter how severe. In North Carolina, an injured worker covered by workers’ compensation is barred from pursuing a personal injury claim against their own employer or co-workers, even if the employer’s or co-employee’s negligence clearly caused the accident that caused their injuries. Only in certain exceptional circumstances will an employee be able to pursue such a claim.
An injured worker in North Carolina can pursue a personal injury claim where the accident was due to the negligence of a “third party”. For example, if a carpenter is working on a job, and is struck and injured by building materials dropped from a crane operated by another company (a “third-party”), that carpenter can pursue a personal injury claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. (The workers’ compensation insurance company does have the right to get the money they paid from the personal injury claim.)
Construction Accident Cases are Often Complicated
Whether a person injured in a construction accident is a worker or a passer-by, construction injuries can involve complicated issues as far as the exact cause of the injury, and who is responsible. In fact, there will normally be an argument that more than one person or company was at fault. For example in the crane example above, there are a number of possible causes to be investigated. Was the crane operator not paying attention? Had she been trained properly before being allowed to operate the crane? Did the general contractor overseeing the project have proper safety precautions in place as required by OSHA? There could also be evidence that leads to other types of claims. Was the crane in the example above defective? Well, if so, there may be a product liability action that can be pursued as well.
Indeed, often there are situations where more than one party may have been at fault, and you can be sure any company against whom a claim is filed will look to blame someone else, even the person who was hurt! Therefore, in construction cases, it is crucial that an injured party collect evidence, investigate, and obtain expert help quickly. Experts are often needed to help evaluate what claims may exist, against whom a claim should be made, and sort through complex issues involving engineering, medicine, or other fields. Rest assured, defendants and insurance companies will move quickly to hire experts and begin their investigations.
In summary, construction accidents can involve complex issues, and it is crucial to make sure a claim is explored as soon as possible before evidence is destroyed or moved, and when witnesses’ memories are fresh.
The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor has lawyers in Charlotte, Hickory, and Greenville North Carolina, as well as Columbia, South Carolina who have the experience and skill to help you deal with the complexities of construction law accidents, and to pursue all remedies available.