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Construction Site Accidents – Is Workers’ Compensation Your Only Option?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2023 | Firm News

Accidents on construction sites can occur for a variety of reasons. Construction accidents may be the result of employers who fail to comply with occupational safety and health regulations and requirements. Contractors often fail to supply workers with proper safety equipment, leading to construction injuries. Even when equipment is provided, that equipment might not be appropriate for the work being done, or it might fail to work properly. Additionally, when responsibility for workplace safety is divided among multiple workers from multiple contractors, construction injuries can result from a lack of proper communication and supervision.

Accidents in construction may be compensable through worker’s compensation. Under normal circumstances a person compensated through workers’ compensation cannot file a separate personal injury lawsuit because of a legal protection referred to as workers’ compensation immunity. However, in situations where someone other than your employer or coworker causes you to be injured, workers’ compensation law may allow for a separate lawsuit to be brought against them. This is true even if you are already receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Possible exceptions include situations in which you are injured by the negligence of someone contractually unrelated to the project, such as a materialman. In a 2015 decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeals of Florida determined that a materialman who furnishes materials under contract to someone performing work on a construction site but performs no labor in the installation of that material on the site, is not a contractor or subcontractor within the meaning of the Florida statutes. As such, they are not entitled to workers’ compensation immunity.

For the same reason a materialman would not enjoy immunity from suit, the manufacturer of a defective product who is not a contractor or subcontractor on a worksite would not be immune from a lawsuit arising out of a workplace injury.

Additionally, where the construction work is being performed on a site owned by an unrelated party, there may be liability on the part of a landowner who has maintained that property in an unsafe condition.

Armand & Dieguez has successfully represented clients in these and similar scenarios, including a confidential settlement in a case involving poorly built safety barriers which collapsed and caused a construction worker to fall 30 feet rendering him paralyzed from the waist down, a confidential settlement involving a worker injured when a stack of drywall weighing several hundred pounds which was delivered to a construction site and stacked improperly fell onto his foot causing severe and permanent injuries, and a case in which a worker was injured due to inoperable and defective safety covers failed to prevent his hand from getting caught in a machine.

Call us for a free consultation regarding your construction accident.