Construction sites are dangerous and the involved dangers—falling objects, electrocutions, and heavy machinery—can lead to substantial injuries. Workers who are injured while on a construction site may have several ways of recovering for the injuries they sustain, including personal injury lawsuits. If successful, these claims can be vital in helping victims recover from their injuries.
Personal Injury Claim
It is important to note that an injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against his or her employer. Instead, compensation for those injuries is pursued through a workers’ compensation claim. However, third-party claims are possible in certain circumstances. For example, if a subcontractor’s employee is injured while on site, he or she may file a lawsuit against the owner of the site or the general contractor. Third-party claims can lead to recovery for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.
Numerous individuals may be held responsible for injuries suffered on a construction worksite and include the following:
1. The site owner may be held liable even if he or she is not present at the time of the accident;
2. The general contractor is responsible for hiring workers and ensuring that the worksite is safe;
3. A subcontractor holds similar duties as the general contractor; however, his or her liability is usually limited to a particular area of the site;
4. Architects may be held liable for design flaws; and
5. Equipment manufacturers may be held liable if their products are faulty or defective.
Personal injury lawsuits arising out of construction-related accidents are pursued under a negligence theory. For a plaintiff to be successful, he or she must establish the following elements:
1. The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
2. The defendant breached that duty;
3. The plaintiff was injured as a result of the breach; and
4. The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the injury suffered.
An important issue to be aware of is the statute of limitations—the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit against those individuals claimed to be responsible. For a personal injury or products liability lawsuit, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident. A products liability lawsuit arises when a manufacturer makes a defective product. In a wrongful death claim, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. Critically, if a lawsuit is not filed within these time periods, the right to recover is (usually) lost forever.
Construction workers often operate in environments that have an increased risk of injury. When an injury occurs, it may have been caused by the actions of another person. If you have been injured in a construction-related accident, please contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm represents individuals throughout the northwest suburbs in the communities of Schaumburg, Crystal Lake, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness and Deer Park.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.