Should I File for Workers’ Compensation or a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Working in construction has its hazards.
There is often heavy machinery, tall heights and low trenches, and dangerous tools and equipment. There is a lot to look out for and prepare for in construction work.
And yet, you are still granted an expectation of safety while working in these conditions. As a construction worker, your employer has the duty to protect you from unnecessary risk or injury.
Sometimes, however, something goes wrong.
Most common construction site injuries
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), there were 4,101 worker fatalities in 2013, 20 percent of which were in construction. That means that 1 in five worker deaths in 2013 occurred in the construction field.
The most common causes of death or injury in construction included:
- Falls (36.5%)
- Struck by object (10.1%)
- Electrocution (8.6%)
- Being caught in or between (2.5%)
Along with that, the most common violations of safety standards included:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication standard
- Scaffolding requirements were not up to par
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Control of hazardous energy
- Electrical wiring methods, components and equipment
- Machinery and machine guarding
- Electrical system design
Am I eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim?
If you were injured while on a construction job, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation. Florida is a “no fault” state; this means that a worker does not have to prove that an employer was at fault, or negligent, in the injury. Under Florida law, you are eligible to receive medical care and financial compensation as a result of a work-related injury. However, following this path does disqualify a worker from later suing an employer for negligence.
The workers’ compensation benefits are paid out from insurance every employer is required to have for employees, in the event they are injured on the job.
A workers’ compensation claim generally will pay for medical expenses, lost wages and some or all of disability.
Workers’ compensation claims, unlike civil lawsuits, do not allow employees to seek damages for things like pain and suffering.
Should I file a civil lawsuit?
As stated, once you file a workers’ compensation claim, you void your right to file a lawsuit in civil court.
However, you may want to sue in civil court if your employer does not provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage or if the employer engaged in behavior that intended to endanger you as employee.
In many construction sites, there are several employer entities present. In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against one or more of these other entities involved.
In this scenario, you would have to prove that the other entity, whether it’s a subcontractor, architect, etc., was responsible for your safety, they failed in that duty and that you were injured as a result of their negligence.
Contact an experienced attorney
If you’ve been injured on the job site and you’re not sure what to do, contact the experienced attorneys at Boone & Davis Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We are prepared to provide you with immediate legal assistance.