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Construction Accidents and Third-Party Liability

Posted on in Construction Accidents

By Daniel Kotin

construction accidents, Chicago personal injury lawyerWe do not tend to think of fall and winter as prime months for construction to occur, but some building projects do not stop just because the temperatures may dip. This means that Illinois construction workers are at risk year-round of suffering a work-related accident. Just recently a construction worker in Chicago was killed instantly when something under pressure hit the worker in the face. Other common causes of workplace injuries and deaths include falling from heights, being crushed by machinery or heavy loads, and carelessness when working around power tools.

Workers’ compensation laws in Illinois provide injured workers (and the surviving family members of deceased workers) who are injured on the job an avenue through which they can recover monetary compensation for their injuries. But this is not the only avenue available to them.

When a Third Party is to Blame

Workers’ compensation laws present injured workers with a tradeoff: workplace injuries are compensated, usually without any consideration of whether the worker or the employer (or both) acted carelessly. On the other hand, the worker is unable to pursue a separate lawsuit against the employer for additional damages unless the employer acted with some intent. Injured workers who only pursue compensation through the workers’ compensation scheme may not be fully compensated for all of their losses and expenses.

But workers’ compensation laws do not protect a negligent third party who causes or contributes to a worker’s injuries. Suppose that the worker described above was killed because a pipe manufactured by a certain company failed when under pressure, contributing to the fatal injury. Unless the worker was an employee of the pipe’s manufacturer, the manufacturer would be considered a third party in this fatal injury incident. Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws would allow a representative of the deceased worker to file a lawsuit against the pipe’s manufacturer and recover damages that may exceed the workers’ compensation benefit. The same is true in the case of an injured worker: where a third party’s carelessness played a role in causing the injury, the injured worker can pursue a lawsuit against the negligent third party.

Must I Bring a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Third Party?

In some cases your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may encourage you to file a third party lawsuit. They do this so that they may be able to recover all or a portion of the money they paid to you under the workers’ compensation insurance contract they have with your employer. Any additional compensation recovered above and beyond what you received through your worker’s compensation claim would be awarded to you.

The best course of action following a workplace accident is to contact the skilled Illinois workplace injury attorneys at Tomasik Kotin Kasserman LLC. We can investigate the facts of your workplace injury and determine if a third party may be liable for your injuries. If so, we will use our experience and knowledge to aggressively pursue the compensation you need from all at-fault third parties. Contact us at (312) 605-8800 to learn more about how our representation can make a significant difference in your personal injury case.

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