Personal Injury Claims for Construction Workers
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million employees work at 252,000 construction sites across the nation on a daily basis. OSHA statistics for construction injuries can be viewed here. Construction work is inherently hazardous and can result in devastating injuries if workers are not protected. Due to the high-risk nature of construction work, employees may need to make a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim if they are injured on the job. In some cases, they may need to make both types of claims.
If you have been involved in a construction accident, please call or email our attorneys for a free consultation.
As a construction worker, how am I protected in Washington State?
In Washington, there are two state guidelines that can help ensure the protection of construction workers: (1) the Washington Administrative Code and (2) the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA). Some of the main site requirements specified in these guidelines include:
- Proper railings are required on elevated work areas;
- Proper markings are required for unsafe conditions and hazards;
- Proper coverings are required for holes on a job site; and
- Proper shoring of trenches is required.
Who is responsible for keeping me safe on a job site?
It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure that the workplace meets safety requirements as set out by local, state, and federal regulations. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the General Contractor to make sure that the job site is safe for all workers on the site, including the employees of other subcontractors. This may include you!
If I work for the General Contractor on a jobsite, can I sue them?
In a word, no. You cannot sue your employer in Washington State, as your direct employer has “immunity” from a lawsuit. This means that your employer cannot be sued, even if they caused the accident. However, there may be another entity or individual who is at fault for your injuries that you can sue, depending on the facts of your case.
Can I sue for injuries if I also have a claim with L&I?
Yes, generally — although it will depend on your case. While you cannot sue your employer if they are at fault, you still have the right to make a claim against other entities that may have caused or contributed to your injuries on a job site. It is important to investigate all potential at-fault parties who may have caused your injury in order to evaluate if a claim can be made against them for your losses.
If you are a construction worker and have suffered an injury on a construction job site, you will have a workers' compensation claim through L&I. In addition to the L&I claim, you may also have a third-party claim against the individual or party who caused or contributed to your injuries. In such circumstances, workers' compensation lawyers and personal injury lawyers will work hand-in-hand to help you navigate the legal process. This means ensuring that your medical bills and wage loss are paid promptly through the Workers’ Compensation System, and helping you with your injury claim and getting monetary compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and future losses against the at-fault parties. Workers' compensation payments occur up-front, but personal injury payment/recovery occurs at the end of your case.
Yes. You must pursue your personal injury claim in a timely manner. In Washington state, personal injury claims have a three-year statute of limitations (also known as an “SOL”). This means that you have three years from the date you were injured to either settle your case or file a lawsuit in Washington state. If your workplace injury occurred outside of Washington, it is important to note that other states may have shorter or longer statutes of limitations for personal injury claims. Do not delay in contacting an attorney well before the SOL date.
Remember that there will be different statute of limitations for Labor & Industry claims. You must file your L&I claim within one year from the date of injury. If you have an occupational disease, you must report it to the Department within two years of notice. You should consult with a Labor and Industry attorney to ensure you timely file.
You can contact any attorney at GLP Attorneys for a free lawyer consultation about your construction job site accident. Our attorneys can help answer your questions and can determine if you need to hire an attorney to help you navigate your workplace personal injury claim.
If you have been involved in a Construction accident, please call or email our attorneys for a free consultation