Most construction projects involve a lot of different players, including architects, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and more – and any of them have the potential to be liable for an accident that leaves someone injured.
If you were hurt while working a construction job, don’t assume that you’re limited strictly to what workers’ compensation provides. You may have a viable third-party claim against someone else.
What are third-party claims?
Third-party claims are made outside the workers’ compensation system – so they do not follow the same rules. While workers’ comp is supposed to be a “no-fault” system that prevents lawsuits, third-party claims rely on a finding of negligence, like any other personal injury lawsuit.
Who potentially could be liable for your injuries?
Every case is fact-specific, so the circumstances of your injury will determine where liability may lie, but some of the possibilities include:
- Design professionals: Architects, engineers and other design professionals may be liable if errors in their plans led to structural issues that caused your injuries. For example, if a structure was unstable due to poor design and it caused you to fall, that could be negligence on their part.
- Manufacturers and suppliers: When materials or products provided by manufacturers or suppliers are defective, they may be held responsible. For example, if a supplier delivers large equipment or tools that are in poor condition, you could be injured when they break while in use.
- Subcontractors: Subcontractors working under the primary contractor can also be subject to third-party liability. Careless placement of electrical cords or tools, for example, can be a huge hazard on a construction site.
Recognizing and addressing third-party liability is essential for resolving construction disputes fairly and ensuring that those responsible for your injuries are held accountable for their actions or oversights. Plus, you can ask for compensation for your pain and suffering, which is something that workers’ comp doesn’t pay.
If your third-party claim is successful, you may have to pay back some of the workers’ comp benefits you’ve received, but that amount may be negotiable. It’s essential to seek experienced legal guidance after you’ve been hurt to make sure that you aren’t accidentally leaving money on the table that’s rightfully yours.