You can file a third-party claim after a construction accident with the help of a lawyer. They can gather evidence, understand your case’s facts, and fight for the compensation you need. Some firms handle both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, meaning you could have more than one option when seeking damages.
Yet, third-party claims differ from workers’ compensation cases in that you must have a responsible party. Here, you can learn the basics of seeking financial recovery and how you could benefit from a construction accident lawyer’s guidance.
How Is a Third-Party Claim Different From a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
As noted, a third-party claim is different from a workers’ compensation claim.
Some key differences include:
- Workers’ compensation operates on a no-fault system. This means you can seek damages from your employer’s insurer regardless of fault. In most states, employers must have workers’ compensation insurance by law.
- A third-party claim is a personal injury claim against a person or business other than your employer whose negligence injured you. You need evidence to prove that a third party is responsible for your injuries and resulting losses.
What Situations Could Give Rise to a Third-Party Claim?
There are usually multiple parties at work on construction sites. The nature of the job means many potential hazards put you at risk of serious injury or even death. Therefore, it’s crucial that all parties on the construction site practice safety on the job, not just to protect themselves, but others as well.
Yet, when one party acts negligently, they can cause others to suffer:
- Slip and falls
- Falls from heights
- Burns from fires or explosions
- Harm from defective power tools
- Exposure to toxic substances, like asbestos
- Vehicle accidents
- Injuries from structural collapse (such as unsecured scaffolding)
Negligent parties in a third-party liability claim could include construction managers, contracting agencies, and even co-workers. If a third party caused your injuries, you could seek damages through a third-party claim in addition to a workers’ compensation case.
You Can Support a Third-Party Claim After a Construction Accident
You have legal rights after suffering injuries on a construction site. Maybe you suffered an injury because a subcontractor didn’t disclose that a building had asbestos or perhaps you drove a company vehicle when another motorist crashed into you, leaving you with serious injuries.
In these situations, a third party is responsible for your injuries, and you can hold them financially accountable.
To improve your case’s outcome:
- Connect with a healthcare provider: Your health is the top priority. You should visit a physician who can examine your injuries and generate supporting evidence. The sooner you receive medical treatment, the better.
- Gather evidence: If possible, try to collect evidence that can help back up your claim. This may include taking pictures of your injuries, requesting a copy of a police report, and gathering witnesses’ contact information.
- File your workers’ compensation paperwork: File your workers’ compensation claim so you can begin receiving payments for your medical treatment and lost income. Your workers’ compensation case comes with many hidden deadlines you don’t want to miss. Also, beginning a workers’ compensation claim could support your third-party liability claim later.
- Secure legal representation: Filing a third-party claim against the responsible entity requires a lot of time, paperwork, and legal knowledge. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and help you file a claim against the liable party.
Understanding how you can file workers’ compensation and third-party claims puts you in a good position to receive financial recovery. Your lawyer can advise you further on your options.
Damages Third-Party Claims Can Cover
Workers’ compensation does not cover all of your injury-related losses. It generally covers two-thirds of your lost income and your medical expenses. It does not account for pain and suffering, scarring, and other relevant damages. This is where you could benefit from filing a third-party liability claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. Essentially, third-party coverage can pick up where workers’ compensation leaves off.
Your construction accident injuries may include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, neck injuries, broken bones, and other serious conditions. These ailments can cause hefty expenses many of which are compensable.
You could seek compensation that accounts for:
- Medical bills: Compensation for your medical bills can cover hospitalization, surgery, appointments with your doctor, medical devices and equipment, prescription medication, transportation, diagnostic tests, laboratory work, and emergency care. You can also seek the cost of future medical treatment related to the accident.
- Lost income and benefits: You can recover lost income, vacation and sick days, and any future income you would have earned had you not been hurt.
- Household services: Compensation can cover the cost of services you require in your household, including yard work and cleaning.
- Physical therapy: You may require physical or occupational therapy to help you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Your case can account for these costs.
- Childcare expenses: Compensation can cover the cost of childcare services, so you can make it to your medical appointments without worrying about who will watch your kids.
- Counseling: You may require mental health services to process the trauma of your accident and injuries.
- Pain and suffering: This expense accounts for the physical and emotional toll of the accident on your life.
- Other non-economic damages. Aside from pain and suffering, other compensable non-economic losses include disability, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Wrongful death-related expenses. Financial recovery can cover funeral costs, lost income, future lost income, and medical bills so your family is taken care of in the absence of a loved one’s passing.
The value of your settlement will depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries and how much income you made prior to the accident. Your personal injury lawyer can determine what amount of compensation will adequately cover your losses.
You can secure more than compensation after a construction accident. By holding the liable party accountable, you can get justice for yourself and prevent future accidents that would injure other construction workers. You and your family can also get closure and move forward.
How Could a Personal Injury Lawyer Handle Your Third-Party Claim?
Anyone who suffers an injury due to negligence should consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney with experience handling these cases can guide you through the claims process, while also advocating on your behalf.
A lawyer can explain your options and help you understand each one, so you can make informed choices. In addition, hiring a parsonal injury lawyer levels the playing field since the third party and their insurance provider will have their own legal representation.
You can expect your attorney to support your case by:
- Investigating the accident: Your legal team will investigate the construction accident to find out who is liable and discover the facts of your case. Conducting an investigation may include visiting the scene of the accident and interviewing witnesses.
- Gathering evidence: A lawyer must collect evidence to build a strong case, including police reports, safety records, inspection logs, medical records, pay stubs, witness statements, expert opinions, video footage, and photographs.
- Calculating your claim: A lawyer will do the math to determine the value of your claim and demand an amount from the liable party that will adequately cover your losses. The amount will also help your lawyer evaluate any settlement offers you receive.
- Negotiating a settlement: A lawyer will negotiate with the liable party and their insurance provider on your behalf to reach a settlement agreement. Your lawyer will ensure you understand the terms of the agreement because if you accept a settlement, you cannot seek additional compensation from the third party.
- Filing a lawsuit: A lawyer will file a lawsuit if necessary to recover the compensation you deserve. During this process, they can represent you at trial, conduct depositions, and otherwise advocate for you.
- Representing you in court: A lawyer will represent you in court and at hearings.
Commonly Asked Questions About Third-Party Construction Accident Claims
Filing a third-party claim after a construction accident can get complex if you’re not sure how to do it properly. Understandably, you may have many questions about your situation, some of which may include:
Does Getting Workers’ Compensation Affect My Third-Party Liability Claim?
As noted, you can get compensation from a third-party liability claim and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. Yet, if you get workers’ compensation, this could reduce how much you can get through a third-party settlement. So, for instance, if you have $100,000 in medical bills, and a third-party liability claim pays for all of it, you can’t request another $100,000 through workers’ compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Third-Party Liability Lawsuit?
If you can’t resolve your third-party claim through negotiations, you might have to file a lawsuit to recover what you need. How long you have to file a lawsuit depends on many factors, namely, where your accident took place. For instance, if you slipped and fell on a construction site in New York, you would generally have three years to file under the law.
Your workers’ compensation claim features different deadlines than a third-party liability claim. In the same situation in the state, you would have just 30 days to notify your employer of the incident. Otherwise, you could lose the right to seek damages altogether.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Third-Party Liability Claim?
Without reviewing and understanding your situation first, there’s no way to know how long your claim will take. When you partner with a lawyer, they can prevent obstacles from delaying your case.
How Much Can I Get Through a Third-Party Liability Claim?
How much you can get through a third-party liability claim, like many aspects of your case, depends on your situation. The value of your economic damages depends on many things, including the medical care you required and your missed time from work. Your non-economic damages are a different matter; your lawyer must evaluate certain aspects of your life to learn what you need.
These aspects include:
- Your quality of life
- Your mobility and independence
- The extent of your personal pain and suffering
- Whether you can continue working at your current job or must take a new position
Many states do not cap how much you can request for non-economic damages.
Will the Liable Insurance Company Approve My Third-Party Claim?
Ideally, the insurance company will approve and pay out your claim upon learning about it. If not, however, your lawyer can present compelling evidence and negotiate a fair offer. They can also take your case to court if negotiations do not work out.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Construction Accident Lawyer
Choosing an attorney is a big decision.
As you consult various law firms, look for a representative who:
- Is experienced in handling personal injury cases
- Has ample time and resources to support your case
- Works on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless your lawyer wins your case and you receive compensation
- Offers free consultations to evaluate your case and answer your questions
- Works closely with you and makes you feel comfortable and heard
There are many ways to find an Long Island personal injury law firm. Either calling their office or completing an online contact form, you could start a free consultation with an attorney near you and learn about pursuing a third-party claim after a construction accident.