Construction accident: Is it personal injury or workers’ comp?

The construction industry is vital to growth in South Florida. There’s no question, though, that it is a dangerous profession. With tight deadlines and lots of pressure to complete jobs, accidents, and deaths do happen. If you have been injured in a construction accident or a loved one has been killed, contact Goldman Daszkal to get the compensation you deserve.

The first step in a Florida construction injury usually is workers’ compensation. Most employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage in the event of a work injury. Even when workers’ compensation is the obvious recourse for your injury, it helps to have an experienced attorney in your corner because applying and making sure you have everything in order to get approved can be difficult. 

Even with workers’ compensation, third parties can be held liable for workplace accidents resulting in injury or death by filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Workers’ compensation doesn’t allow the victim to collect damages for things like physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium.

The long-standing case law on Florida construction accident injuries says that property owners who employ independent contractors to perform work on the property cannot be liable for injuries suffered by the independent contractors’ employee during the performance of that work. There are two major exceptions, though:

  • The owner participated in the work or had direct control over it and did not exercise reasonable care.
  • The owner did not warn the contractor about concealed dangers not inherent to the work of which the owner had actual or constructive knowledge AND which were unknown to the contractor, who couldn’t have discovered them through the use of due care.

Although workers’ compensation is a no-fault claim, negligence must be proven to win in a third-party lawsuit for construction accident injuries. Property owners are usually the most commonly-named defendants, but depending on the circumstances, there could be other liable parties, including:

  • Product makers and distributors. Dangerously designed or defective tools can cause serious injuries to construction workers. 
  • Negligent drivers. If you’re injured in a traffic accident while working in a construction zone, you may be able to pursue a claim for damages against the driver and/or owner of that vehicle.
  • Other contractors. You generally can’t sue your own co-workers if they caused your work injury – even if they were careless. If the job site injury was caused by the negligence of another independent contractor or one of their employees, there could be grounds for a lawsuit against the company.

Whether you are pursuing workers’ compensation or plan to file a lawsuit because of a construction accident, contact the expert injury attorneys at Goldman Daszkal. Your initial consultation is free.