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Obtaining Compensation from Construction Accidents

Most victims of construction accidents are employees or subcontractors of the company doing the work.  In many of these cases, the issues can be resolved through workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation, however, does not cover every type of claim, especially when the negligent party was a third-party or subcontractor or there was a defective piece of equipment that led to the accident.  Furthermore, in some cases a relative of the victim can recover damages for certain types of harm resulting from a construction accident.

Workers’ Compensation

There are preventable accidents where a person was injured on the job through the carelessness of an employer or a co-worker.  Under these circumstances, you may file a claim for damages under the Colorado worker’s compensation plan.  It is important to act quickly after an accident as there are strict time limits on notification of injury and filing a claim.  You do not have to file a formal lawsuit to recover damages under worker’s compensation – you can file the claim with your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier.  The worker’s compensation program mandates specific amounts of damages for particular injuries and damages awards are limited.

“Third Party” Defendants

If the accident was caused by a third party – any party other than your employer or a co-worker – you can file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit in state court to recover damages, in addition to the amount you receive from workers’ compensation. This allows you to evade the limitations on damages under the workers’ compensation system.

A typical third party in a construction accident lawsuit would be a construction equipment or parts manufacturer or distributor.  In this case, you may allege strict product liability, which normally requires you to prove the existence of a design defect or a manufacturing defect in the product, but no other type of fault.

Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are common in the construction industry.  If you are a contractor or a subcontractor, you cannot file for workers’ compensation benefits – you will have to file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit. Typically, you will sue the party who hired you, based on a claim of negligence. Winning a negligence lawsuit requires you to prove that the defendant breached a duty owed to you (by carelessly allowing a dangerous working condition, for example), that this breach caused the accident, and that you suffered damages (such as medical expenses, lost work days, and mental anguish) as a result of the accident.

“Third Party” Plaintiffs

A third-party plaintiff is a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit other than the victim of the accident. There are two common types of claims asserted by third-party plaintiffs — loss of consortium and wrongful death (if the victim died in the accident).

As the spouse of a construction accident victim who was seriously injured, you might have suffered great intangible losses yourself – loss of companionship, loss of household services, loss of emotional support, and other significant losses. In this situation, you can assert a loss of consortium claim in your own name. The damages you recover will be added to the damages recovered by your spouse.

Under Colorado law, in the event of a fatal accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the victim’s spouse, parent, or child, depending on the timing of the lawsuit.  In the first year after the death, only the spouse of the victim can file a lawsuit.  After a year has passed, the spouse or child of the deceased may file a legal action.  If the deceased does not have a spouse or children, then the parents of the deceased may file a case. The representative of the estate also may file a survival action.  Depending on the circumstances, a wrongful death lawsuit may seek loss of consortium damages as well as damages for loss of financial support or other damages suffered by surviving relatives.

If you have been hurt in a construction accident, you need skilled legal representation to guide you through the maze that is the Colorado legal system. Zinda Law Group is a Denver personal injury law firm that has won the immense respect of its clients.  We have represented a multitude of clients in construction accident cases. We will explore every legal option and challenge every obstacle to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 303-800-1501 to schedule a free consultation.



 

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Phone: 303-800-1501

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