Construction sites can be dangerous places, even if all safety regulations are followed. Common causes of construction site accidents include malfunctioning equipment, slip and falls, falling objects, explosions, or power line hazards. Construction accidents can cause serious injuries or even death. If you have been injured on a construction site, a dedicated personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
If a construction worker is injured while at work and performing his or her duties, the worker can recover from his or her employer under Michigan’s workers’ compensation act. Recovery is possible even if the accident did not result from the employer’s negligence, or if the worker was negligent or careless. However, if an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation, the worker is limited to that recovery. He or she cannot also file a civil lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation covers both relevant medical expenses and lost wages. Compensation for lost wages is made in weekly payments based on the worker’s average weekly earnings and how severe the disability is—whether it is temporary or permanent, partial or total. Importantly, workers’ compensation does not cover damages for pain and suffering.
Often, in a construction accident, a party other than the worker’s employer is to blame. For example, a property owner, contractor, equipment manufacturer, architect, etc., may be held liable in a civil suit. This means that an employee limited by workers’ compensation may be able to recover more comprehensive compensation from a third party.
Contractors and subcontractors have a duty to take measures to keep the construction site reasonably safe. They must warn of hazards, hire responsible and qualified workers, and make sure that safety regulations are being followed. If they breach those duties and do not take reasonable steps to ensure worksite safety, they can be civilly liable for negligence.
Sometimes, defective equipment causes harm. Construction equipment manufacturers must design and produce safe equipment. Malfunctioning equipment can be a great safety hazard and cause serious injuries. Under Michigan’s products liability law, the designer, manufacturer, and retailer may be held responsible for defective equipment, even if the injured worker cannot prove negligence.
Passersby and others who do not work in construction can also be injured on or near construction sites. Falling material or equipment, for example, may injure a pedestrian or driver. Power lines can electrocute, and spilled chemicals may leak from the worksite. Generally, private citizens injured on construction sites may bring negligence suits against the construction company, or sometimes against the contractor or property owner.
Damages in civil suits for construction injuries include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages or loss of earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, mental distress, disfigurement, etc. If the wrongdoer was reckless in its behavior, the victim may be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar behaviors.
If you have suffered an injury on a construction site, an attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries. Please contact Michigan personal injury attorney John Little today for a free initial consultation.