Construction sites present many dangers to workers. When an employee is injured on a worksite, the natural reaction is to submit a workers’ compensation claim. However, that may not be the only path to recovery. You may be able to seek a civil recovery instead or in addition to that recovery.
Civil claims provide much broader rights to compensation than workers’ compensation benefits do, including the right to recover for non-economic losses like pain and suffering. You might be able to pursue such a claim if the injury was all or completely the result of negligence by a third party who was not your employer, such as a subcontractor who installed faulty scaffolding, a leasing company that provided malfunctioning equipment, unsafe conditions at the work site, and many other instances.
Talk to Wruck Paupore’s Milwaukee construction accident attorneys about whether your injury meets the criteria for a civil recovery in a personal injury lawsuit. You can get a free case assessment when you call our offices today at (219) 322-1166.
Liability Rules for Employer Negligence in Milwaukee Construction Accidents
If you were injured at your construction job, you deserve compensation for your medical bills and the income that you will be forced to miss out on. However, the State of Wisconsin makes workers’ compensation insurance benefits the exclusive remedy for injured workers on the job. This means that, even if your employer’s negligence caused the accident that injured you, you would not be able to file a lawsuit against them to recover your damages. However, medical treatment and some lost wages are likely covered for on the job injuries whether your employer was negligent or not.
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If, however, your employer or a co-worker intentionally injured you, you may be able to seek recovery outside of worker’s compensation and file a lawsuit. Our Milwaukee construction accident attorneys can offer experienced advice about the potential exceptions to Wisconsin’s exclusive remedy rule that could get you more compensation for your injuries.
Third-Party Liability for Milwaukee Construction Accident Injuries
The exclusive remedy rule covers claims against employers in situations where employees are hurt on the job after an accident. However, this only applies to claims directly against the employer. Your accident may have been caused in whole or in part by a third party’s negligence. In these cases, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against that third party, while also obtaining recovery from Worker’s Compensation regardless of whether you employer was at fault.
For instance, if your job involves scaffolding or heavy machinery, you are relying on more than just your employer. Often, construction management companies will contract with other parties to erect scaffolding or lease the equipment needed for the job. Those parties owe legal duties to anyone who might foreseeably be using the goods or services that they provide.
If a scaffolding company provides a sloppy installation that collapses and injures a worker, the worker could sue the company for negligence in addition to seeking workers’ compensation. Leasing companies that provide poorly maintained power tools and machinery are liable for injuries that might result from an equipment malfunction.
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If you intend to seek civil recovery, you will have a limited amount of time to act and preserve critical evidence. You should reach out to your Milwaukee construction accident attorney with any questions as soon as possible.
Manufacturer Liability for Construction Equipment Accidents in Milwaukee
In some cases, a product malfunction that causes injuries does not create liability for the leasing company or force you to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. If the defect that caused the accident developed due to negligence in the manufacturing process, you can file a lawsuit against the company that made the product. Common examples of products that might have defects include power tools, heavy machinery, building materials, and safety equipment.
However, identifying defects and proving their existence can be an uphill climb, as they might not be immediately obvious to the injury victim and are likely to require analysis by skilled experts in this area. It’s important to seek advice of a seasoned Milwaukee construction accident attorney to determine where liability might lie for construction accident injuries.
Advantages to Filing a Lawsuit for Construction Accident Injuries in Milwaukee
While a personal injury lawsuit might not be available in every instance of construction accident injury, it is important that victims identify the possibility and explore it before proceeding in their recovery efforts. This is because personal injury lawsuits can return more compensation for injured victims than workers’ compensation insurance provides and are usually available in addition to worker’s compensation benefits from an employer.
Workers’ compensation benefits are based on an insurance system that your employer pays into in the case of worker injury, and is governed by a statutory system for reimbursement established under Wisconsin law. Unlike civil tort remedies, you are not required to show your employer was at fault to recover. This system operates under “no-fault” principles, just like your health insurance, and you are entitled to benefits if you were injured in the course and scope of your emolument, even if you were at fault. Benefits include medical care costs, although there are restrictions on what providers you may see. It also includes lost wages related to the incident under a statutory formula that establishes maximum reimbursement amounts.
The trade off for these benefits is you are not entitled to the full recovery for non-economic and economic loss you would be in the civil justice system. For example, in a personal injury lawsuit damages account for the victim’s pain and suffering. Both a lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim can provide relief for some of the economic aspects of your losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages, but reimbursement in the worker’s compensation context is more limited. Your Milwaukee construction accident attorney can help you assess these differences.
Significantly, civil remedies available through a personal injury claim also recover compensation for non-economic damages based on the more personal, less tangible harms that a construction accident injury victim usually endures.
While both a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim offer potential legal remedies following an accident, you should make certain that you are limited to a workers’ comp claim before giving up on other remedies. . It’s very important to have your case reviewed by a Milwaukee construction accident lawyer to help you determine the best course of action for your recovery.
Get Compensation for a Milwaukee Construction Accident Injury Today
To get a free case assessment from Wruck Paupore’s Milwaukee construction accident lawyers, call us today at (219) 322-1166.
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