How Can I File a Third-Party Claim After a Construction Accident?
Some people injured in construction accidents can file a third-party claim through the civil legal system. This may mean filing a lawsuit or engaging in settlement negotiations with liable parties. You can have a construction accident attorney
evaluate whether you have a good case.
Should I Hire an Attorney for a Third-Party Construction Accident Claim?
Many construction workers, or others injured on a construction site, have little or no legal experience. For this reason and others, it is wise to hire an attorney to lead your third-party claim.
Even if you decide to file a workers’ compensation claim
(more on that in a bit), having an attorney is a significant benefit.
Your lawyer will:
- Investigate the circumstances of your construction accident
- Determine whether filing a third-party claim is the right decision based on your case details
- Gather evidence of negligence by liable parties
- Document your losses
- Calculate the monetary cost of your losses
- File any claim or lawsuit that you pursue
- Negotiate with insurance companies or other attorneys
- Complete a trial, if your case calls for one
An attorney will also defend your rights. In insurance claims or lawsuits, adverse parties can use your words against you. Your lawyer will protect you from making statements or taking actions that might harm your case. Your attorney will also be sure to file your case before any statutes of limitations expire.
What Criteria Should I Look for in an Attorney?
You will want to hire the right attorney for a third-party construction accident claim.
Generally, this will mean hiring an attorney who:
- Understands the field of personal injury
- Has handled and won third-party construction accident claims
- Works for a firm with ample resources
- Has a contingency fee structure, which means that you won’t have to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket costs to complete your case
- Makes you feel valued and comfortable during the consultation process
You may find a lawyer through the recommendations of friends, family, or colleagues. You may also find one through online research and set up a free consultation. The consultation process is a prime opportunity to vet prospective attorneys, asking questions and gauging a lawyer's level of client service.
What Types of Construction Accidents Warrant a Third-Party Claim?
Your attorney should understand the leading causes of construction accidents and the differences between each type of accident.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
, the leading causes of construction accidents are:
- Items falling on construction workers
- Collapse of scaffolding
- Being caught in between dangerous items (like heavy machinery or structures)
Construction sites are dangerous by nature, and there are countless ways of suffering injuries. The reason for your fall will be a central fact in your case. The cause can determine whether you can file an injury claim or lawsuit against a third party.
When Can I File a Lawsuit After a Construction Accident?
It is generally appropriate to file a third-party construction accident lawsuit when the liable party is not your employer. If a negligent third party caused your injuries, you may need to file a lawsuit.
Some circumstances that may warrant a third-party lawsuit are:
- Defective protective equipment contributing to your injuries
- Scaffolding collapsing because of defective design
- A third-party contractor making decisions that lead to your injuries
- A third-party motorist driving into the construction scene, causing a collision that leads to your injuries
An attorney will evaluate your unique circumstances and provide legal advice on how you should pursue compensation for your losses.
Workers’ Compensation: A Consideration in Most Construction Accident Cases
In many cases, victims of construction accidents pursue a workers’ compensation claim rather than a lawsuit. A workers’ compensation claim may be appropriate when your injury comes in the normal course of your work. Your employer may have broad coverage by workers’ compensation insurance, though receiving the benefits you need can be difficult.
Most employers must
have workers’ compensation insurance, though this varies by state. An employer in the construction industry who lacks workers’ compensation opens themselves up to significant liability. The odds are that your employer has workers’ compensation coverage.
The right law firm can handle your workers’ compensation claim and address any challenges, including:
- Allegations that you were engaged in horseplay, intoxicated, or involved in non-work activity at the time of your injuries
- Attempts to undervalue your lost wages, medical expenses, or other covered losses
- Attempts to misrepresent your words
- Lowball settlement offers
Insurance companies often work hard to protect their bottom lines, and you want a construction accident lawyer who will work just as hard to protect you.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
notes that many construction employers violate OSHA standards. If your case involves an OSHA violation by your employer, then this may alter your approach to seeking compensation.
Liability Is a Key Factor in Whether You File a Claim or Lawsuit
How a lawyer approaches your construction accident case will hinge largely on liability.
If your employer or a co-worker is liable for your construction accident, your lawyer may first consider a workers' compensation claim. If a third party is liable for your losses, your attorney will consider filing a lawsuit.
This approach is not set in stone. Attorneys should take a personalized approach to each construction accident case and create a plan unique to you.
What Damages Can I Recover from a Third-Party Claim?
Recoverable damages vary in each case but may include:
- Medical expenses for your accident-related injuries
- Lost wages
- Lost earning power
- Pain and suffering
- Any other losses stemming from your construction accident
Your recoverable losses will also depend on whether you may pursue a workers' compensation claim or a lawsuit. Generally, a lawsuit provides a broader range of covered losses.
Call an Attorney Today to Seek Compensation for Your Construction Accident
We recommend that you speak with a lawyer. As much as you may trust your employer, it’s always smart to get an independent evaluation of your circumstances.
Call a construction accident attorney today for a free consultation about your case.