One of the most dangerous industries to work in is the construction industry but this doesn’t mean that construction workers should accept the risk of injury as an occupational hazard. This means that when you are injured on a construction site in Providence, federal and state laws will ensure that there’s an avenue you can use to get legal relief. You have three main legal options:
- Product liability suit
- A personal injury lawsuit
- A workers’ compensation claim
You may have access to one or more of these options and we have discussed them below:
Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are injured at work in Providence, workers’ compensation rules demand that you get compensation for losses caused by the injuries. Most employers are required to carry enough insurance coverage because that is how they pay workers’ claims.
You should be entitled to compensation regardless of whether you were responsible for the accident or not. Workers’ compensation is therefore a no-fault system. You can collect compensation for almost any injury occurring on the job.
The amount of compensation you will receive through workers’ compensation is usually less than what you would receive through filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Unfortunately, you can’t opt out of workers’ compensation to file a personal injury case unless your situation is unique. Speak to your Providence workers’ compensation lawyer to find out what other options there might be for your specific claim.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Workers’ compensation rules only apply in situations where there is a direct employer-employee relationship. Most construction projects involve many people from material suppliers to general contractors.
If you want to claim compensation for an injury you sustained but you want to do so through a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that your direct employer isn’t liable. If this is not possible, then you will have to be compensated through workers’ compensation.
So to step outside the workers’ compensation system, you need to prove three things:
- The defendant’s actions or inaction caused your injuries.
- The defendant had a duty to provide a safe work environment for workers.
- The defendant did not fulfil this duty
Any person who makes decisions at a construction site is legally obligated to provide worker safety so this isn’t a duty that’s limited to sub-contractors or general contractors. So if the material supplier regularly directs workers and tells them what to do or not to do, they may be held liable for providing unsafe work conditions.
If they fail to provide safe work conditions to workers, this might amount to negligence. Any violation of industry safety standards or OSHA Regulations is considered a breach of duty of care.
The most common types of damages for personal injury lawsuits include:
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses and expenses for any other care necessitated by your injury.
Product Liability Lawsuit
Your injury may have been because of a defective construction equipment or construction material. If this is the case, the seller, manufacturer or designer of the equipment may be held liable for your injuries. To file a product liability lawsuit, you must be able to prove these three elements:
1. The Product was Unreasonably Dangerous
If the manufacturer of construction equipment sells a piece of equipment that has an unreasonably dangerous defect, they may be held liable for any injuries that result. It does not matter whether they knew the equipment had a defect, what matters is that it was defective and you were left to control it.
2. The Equipment Was Being Used in a Foreseeable Manner
You have to show that you were using the equipment as intended by the manufacturer. Manufacturers and designers avoid liability when users modify or use their equipment inappropriately. For instance, if you changed the engine on a forklift to install a much more powerful one, you can’t sue for product liability if you get into an accident while operating it. This is because you already modified the forklift therefore you don’t have a case.
3. The Defect in the Equipment Caused Harm
If, for example, the fuel tank in the forklift was defective, and it exploded and caused you significant harm, then you can file for a product liability suit.
If you or one of your coworkers is the victim of a construction site accident in Providence, call one of our Providence construction site personal injury attorney as soon as possible at 401-751-0101. You can also visit our Kevin P Landry Offices in Providence for a free consultation.