When a construction worker is injured while using company equipment, sometimes compensation can be limited to workers’ compensation benefits. Under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, an employee does not have to prove his or her employer was negligent, the injury is proof enough to justify receiving workers’ compensation. There is a tradeoff, though. Immediate reimbursement through workers’ compensation is offset by lower payments and less-than-full disability benefits, and injured workers must surrender their rights to be reimbursed for pain and suffering. However, third-party civil claims can make up the difference. If you have questions about your work injury case, we invite you to take advantage of our firm’s free consultation. Simply call us at 954-767-6500 today.
What types of injuries can result from faulty machinery at a construction site?
In a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction is the number-one category in which fatal work accidents occur. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates workplace safety standards. But numerous accidents still occur at construction sites every year due to hazards presented by heavy machinery, construction vehicles, and scaffolds. According to the same study by the BLS, roughly 10 percent of all construction workers will suffer some form of work-related injury every year.
OSHA violations are to blame for many third-party faulty equipment lawsuits. A common cause of construction site accidents is attributed to general machinery wear and tear. If mechanical devices are not properly used, maintained and serviced regularly, workers run a greater risk of being hurt.
How do I take action against a third-party for defective machinery?
You may be entitled to file a product liability claim if you have been injured on the job as a result of defective machinery or equipment. If successful, you will be awarded damages to pay all medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, total lost wages – including disability – and pain and suffering. If a family member was killed in the accident, survivors can receive additional damages for funeral expenses, mental anguish and loss of consortium.
The legal burden of proving a defective product claim is not as high as other personal injury claims. Even if your employer owned it, your attorney must show only that the machinery or equipment was defective and directly caused your injuries. But if the machinery was owned by a third party, such as another contractor on the site and was not properly maintained, a negligence claim or lawsuit can be filed against the device’s owner, in addition to the defective product action against the manufacturer.
Third-party lawsuits can take years before they finally settle or go to trial. Therefore, filing for workers’ compensation benefits to pay medical bills and expenses is necessary. When an injured employee receives an award from any third-party lawsuit, his or her employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company must be reimbursed for payments made to the employee. This is why third-party accident claims are for the full amount of damages. The injured worker’s lawsuit award is likely to be significantly higher than the worker’s compensation payments. So the injured party is allowed to keep the difference between the ultimate award and the worker’s benefits repayment.
Investigating all At-Fault Parties in Third-Party Construction Injury Accidents
In addition to the above possible third parties, OSHA and your own attorney’s investigations may identify other responsible parties. Construction engineers may have a duty to inspect the machinery and other areas of the site on a regular basis to ensure that your employer and all involved parties comply with proper safety regulations and maintenance guidelines. If the faulty machinery belongs to the general contractor, he or she may be liable, too. Even further liability may exist among property owners and their insurance companies.
The Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Montero Law group are experienced in dealing with various types of workers’ compensation and third-party construction-related accidents, be it investigations, negotiating fair settlements, litigating at trial or coordinating benefits to ensure that all potential avenues of compensation are thoroughly explored. Call the Montero Law Center for a free consultation at 954-767-6500 or contact us online.