Construction-related accidents are among the most common types of injuries covered by workers’ compensation. Construction workers may sustain several injuries covered by workers’ compensation over the course of their careers.
Types of Injuries
Construction accidents include being struck by materials, falling off of a structure, and tripping and falling on a job site. Workers who are injured on a job site are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits during their recovery. These benefits include everything from indemnity benefits to medical bills; in certain cases, should the injury tragically result in the death of the injured worker, their spouse is entitled to survivor benefits.
Who Holds Insurance?
Often times, employees working on a construction site are not working directly for a general contractor, but instead are employed through a subcontractor. Both the general contractor and each subcontractor at a construction site is required to hold workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. However, if an employee of a subcontractor is injured, and the subcontractor does not have appropriate workers’ compensation coverage, then the employee may seek to utilize the workers’ compensation coverage of the general contractor.
Am I an Employee or an Independent Contractor?
On construction sites, both general contractors and subcontractors often try to mischaracterize individuals employed by them as independent contractors. Under Massachusetts law, the test for whether an injured worker is considered an employee for workers’ compensation purposes have to do with how much control the purported employer exercises over the manner and means by which a worker performs the job. Just because a construction worker is informed by an employer that they are an independent contractor does not necessarily preclude them from being entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as an employee.
Third Party-Liability on a Construction Site
In Massachusetts, as a general rule, if someone sustains an injury at work, it is the responsibility of the workers’ compensation insurer to pay the injured worker’s disability benefits and medical bills associated with the injury. Unlike other legal remedies, workers’ compensation does not take into account the pain and suffering associated with a workers’ injury. Rather, it is a wage replacement system designed to pay an injured worker a portion of their wages during the period of disability.
When an injury occurs on a construction site, in addition to an injured worker being entitled to workers’ compensation, often times an entity other than the employer has breached a duty to the injured party. In these situations, there may be a third party claim against an entity other than the injured worker’s employer. If a third party is found liable for breaching a duty that results in injury to a worker on a construction site, under that circumstance compensation for pain and suffering may be ordered by a court, substantially enhancing the award to an injured party. You may need the advice of an experienced attorney in figuring out whether or not a third party was liable in your case; Keches Law Group can help you to find out, and our large team of workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys can handle your third-party liability case alongside your workers’ compensation case.
Injuries Occurring Over a Long Period of Time
Construction workers often work for many different employers over the course of their careers. In fact, in construction, it is even common for a worker to perform jobs for multiple employers over the course of months. It is not uncommon that the heavy, repetitive duties of a construction worker result in injury to a body part over years of uncommon use or overuse. In these circumstances, it can be challenging to identify exactly when an injury occurred, although it is clear that the injury is resulting from a construction worker’s job responsibilities. It is possible to seek workers’ compensation claims against multiple insurers when an injured worker and his or her doctor cannot identify one fixed injury date. Injuries resulting from repetitive use of a body part over many years may be imparted to multiple workers’ compensation insurers, tracing back to over several years of employment by multiple employers.
Were You Injured on a Construction Site?
If you are injured on a construction site, it is critical to report the injury to your employer and to fill out a First Report of Injury. Additionally, if there are any direct witnesses to the construction accident, be sure to take down their name and contact information. Seek treatment immediately, and report to the provider that the injury occurred at work. Finally, call Keches Law Group, P.C. for a free consultation. We can provide advice about your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site, contact Keches Law Group at 617-898-0808 or online for a free, no-obligation consultation today. We will be happy to meet you at one of our conveniently located offices or at your home.