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Third-party lawsuits and construction worksite accidents

Written by Ankin Law Office

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 8,000 American employees are injured on the job every day. Some of these injuries are relatively minor, requiring only a short recovery period. Others can be career-ending or even fatal. Many injuries on construction worksites can be traced back to a complicated set of circumstances, often involving negligence by a third party. Disabled employees may wish to file a third-party lawsuit to recover damages after an accident. Illinois workers’ compensation law allows these suits to be filed in some situations.

Not all injured workers can file lawsuits

The Illinois workers’ compensation system is designed to minimize the number of personal injury lawsuits filed by employees. In exchange for a fixed schedule of benefits, workers generally waive the right to sue. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, many of which apply to the injured construction worker and the complex situations found on construction sites.

When can an injured employee sue?

According to Illinois workers’ compensation law, injured employees may file a civil suit under the following circumstances:

  • The employee is disabled while working or traveling for work with another professional in the field.
  • The employee is injured on the job by a defective product.
  • The injury is a direct result of a violation of Illinois workplace safety legislation.

All three of these situations occur regularly in the construction industry. Employees who find themselves disabled by an incident of this sort should be aware of their right to file a third-party suit.

What happens in a third-party suit?

In many cases, a third-party suit is filed against a subcontractor who holds primary responsibility for a construction worksite accident. Although construction workers cannot sue their own employers unless they can prove negligence or safety violations, they have the right to sue subcontractors who cause disabling workplace injuries. If workers are hurt in a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver who is not associated with their employer, they can also sue for compensation. These personal injury claims are not limited by Illinois workers’ compensation law. They can include damages for emotional distress, compensation for pain and suffering, and punitive damages when applicable.

Sometimes Illinois workers’ compensation is not enough to help an injured construction worker pick up the pieces after an accident. To find out whether you should consider filing a third party lawsuit, contact  a personal injury attorney today.