When workers are hurt in construction accidents, they are always eligible for compensation through a workers’ comp claims. This can provide income while they recover from their injuries and help cover any medical bills and expenses incurred. While these funds can help, unfortunately, workers’ comp benefits are limited, and they only last for a certain amount of time. Because of this, many workers will look to file an additional legal claim in order to recover more compensation.
If the construction accident was the fault of the employer, victims are ineligible to file a legal claim because they have already accepted workers’ comp benefits. If the accident and injury were due to contractor negligence, a third party legal claim citing contractor liability is still a viable option.
Filing a Claim against Other Parties
When seeking workers’ comp benefits, there is no need to prove the employers’ fault or negligence. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance simply pays out benefits accordingly. If the victim moves to take legal action against a contractor or other third party, it’s not so simple.
In order to receive compensation in a third-party legal claim for contractor liability, the victim and his or her attorney will need to prove the defendant’s fault in the matter. The victim will need to show that through some act, error or negligence, the defendant caused or contributed to the victim’s accident and injuries.
While it can be harder to recover compensation from a legal claim than it is to get workers’ comp benefits, it’s often worth the extra effort. By filing a legal claim, victims are able to seek payment for a variety of other damages that aren’t available through workers’ comp.
Some of these include:
- pain, suffering and emotional distress;
- lost wages and income, including wages already lost and those expected to be lost in the future;
- loss of enjoyment of life if the injury has altered the victim’s quality of life; and
- loss of consortium if the injury has affected the victim’s relationship with loved ones.
Some victims may even be able to seek extra damages, called punitive damages, in a third party claim if the contractor’s negligence was particularly reckless.
Proving Contractor Liability
To show that the defendant was at-fault or negligent, victims and their attorneys will need to prove four elements:
- Duty –The defendant had a duty to act responsibly so as not to harm the victim;
- Breach of duty – The defendant failed to live up to that duty;
- Causation – The breach of duty led to the construction accident and injuries; and
- Damages – The victim suffered actual damages because of the accident or injury.
In addition to proving these four elements, victims also should expect to have to defend themselves and their own actions throughout the case. The contractor likely will hire an attorney and look to pin some of the blame on the victim.
Because New York is a comparative negligence state, if the victim is shown to hold any amount of blame in the accident, it will affect the amount of recoverable compensation. For example, if the victim is shown to have caused 20 percent of the accident and the defendant 80 percent, the victim will only be able to recover 80 percent of total damages.
Get Legal Help – Contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates
Learn more about how to take legal action against a third party and prove contractor liability after a construction accident. Call 800-246-HURT (4878) to speak to an attorney at Gacovino Lake & Associates today.