Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Despite numerous laws regulating a variety of safety issues, construction workers continue to suffer a high rate of on-the-job injuries.
It is important for injured workers to know they may be able to file a third-party lawsuit, which can potentially result in a more comprehensive recovery than workers’ compensation benefits provide.
Who can file a lawsuit
In New York, an injured employee can file a personal injury lawsuit against anyone other than his or her employer whose negligence caused the accident. On a construction site, it is common to have several groups of contractors and subcontractors working alongside one another. If your injury happened because of the negligence of a person who is not employed by your employer, you may be able to file suit.
One major cause of construction accidents is the malfunction of equipment. Sometimes this happens due to operator error or poor maintenance. In other cases, the maker of the equipment may have supplied a defective product. Investigating exactly how and why an accident happened is a major component of identifying whom to hold responsible.
The issue of what it means to act negligently in a construction setting is another essential issue to address. One question to ask is whether the accident happened because someone failed to comply with one of the numerous safety rules and regulations.
However, it is also possible to act negligently without technically breaking any rules. This type of situation can be harder to identify, but generally boils down to whether a person acted with reasonable prudence and regard for safety, given the situation and the person’s own knowledge. Sometimes, one does not need rules to know common-sense matters such as not to move a piece of heavy equipment without checking one’s surroundings.
Plaintiff’s fault no bar to recovery
Sometimes, an injured worker contributed to the accident by negligence of his or her own. In New York, this does not preclude recovery. A plaintiff who acts negligently can receive an award after the deduction of his or her percentage of fault.