What Should I Do if I'm Hurt While Working on a Construction Site?
If you have been injured while working on a construction site, you may be wondering if you can recover damages for the injuries you sustained and—if so—from who and with what type of claim? All of these questions depend on the specific facts of your case. Consider the following factors to get an idea of what type of case you might have:
1. Are you an employee or an independent contractor?
Workers' compensation only covers claims brought by employees against their employers. If you are hired by someone to do construction work, you will not be successful in a workers' compensation claim against them if the court determines you are an independent contractor, rather than an employee.
Some of the factors the court will consider in determining whether you are an independent contractor include:
- The individual or business's right to direct and control the details of your work including:
- Tools used
- Level of detail of instructions
- Training provided
- System of evaluation
- The type of compensation you received:
- Salary, hourly, or fixed price?
- Pension or 401k?
- Whether the work is temporary, ongoing, or permanent
If you are an independent contractor, you cannot bring a workers' compensation claim, but you may be able to bring a personal injury claim, if you can prove negligence.
If you are an employee of a construction company and not an independent contractor yourself (even if your employer is an independent contractor), then you can bring a workers' compensation claim, as long as you can prove all of the elements required.Talk to An Attorney Now
2. If you are an employee, were you working within the scope of your employment when you were injured?
In order to be successful in a workers' compensation case, you must prove each element of a workers' compensation claim, which differs from state to state. One of the main elements of a workers' compensation claim is that your injury occurred while you were working within the scope of your employment. This usually means that you were on the clock and engaged in your work duties.Talk to An Attorney Now
3. If you are an independent contractor, did someone's negligence cause your injuries?
Even if you cannot bring a workers' compensation claim because you are not an employee, you may still have a personal injury claim if you can prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of another person. Specifically, you will need to prove that:
The person had a duty of care.
This analysis will depend on the facts involved in your case. Factors considered will include what activity the person was engaged in that caused your injuries, if that person was the owner of the property where your injuries occurred, what you were doing on the property, and many other considerations. Generally, a basic negligence claim involves the level of care exercised by a reasonably prudent person in those circumstances.
They breached their duty of care.
In a basic negligence claim, a person breaches their duty of care when they fail to act as a reasonably prudent person in those circumstances.
Your injuries were caused by their breach.
You will need to prove that the actual and proximate cause of your injuries was the individual's breach of their duty of care.
You were damaged by their breach.
Lastly, you will need to prove that you were injured as a result of their breach. Your damages might also include financial damage in the form of medical bills and wages you lost from being off of work.
4. If you are an independent contractor, were your injuries caused by a malfunction or defect in a product you were using?
Even if you are not an employee or an independent contractor injured by someone else's negligence, you may still be able to recover damages for your injuries if you were injured by a tool or product that malfunctioned or was defective. This is called a product liability claim and is very different from workers' compensation and personal injuries claims.
If you have been hurt while working on a construction site or any other environment, we can help you. Contact our firm and our experienced lawyers will review your case and help you determine the best strategy.