Author: Shelby Warden
Published: Sep 12 2012
Construction zones are easily understood to be dangerous workplaces, but many construction workers do not always understand how complicated the workers compensation process can be when they are injured on the job. Construction projects all have a primary builder, along with a general contractor who is in charge of assembling the team of sub-contractors needed to complete the project. The result can be confusion in determining a responsible party when a worker gets injured. The answer may be that all contracting parties are liable.
Employers are identified by the workers compensation carrier. If the employer does not have compensation insurance, then there is also a good possibility that they are not licensed or bonded either. This is not typical of a general contractor because of the size the operation and the capital investment necessary to operate as a general contractor. The same is not always true of a sub-contractor.
Any construction worker should know who their actual employer is, along with checking the company credentials as a business. Normally the general contractor will not outsource work to unprotected subcontractors, but it does happen. If the immediate employer does not deduct taxes from employee wages, then there is a good possibility that they are a wildcat construction operation. This is also important when a worker is injured and needs to know exactly who should receive the injury report.
The short answer to this question is all of them may possibly be guilty of negligence on some level. Violation of OSHA rules can be an immediate indication of failure by a contractor in maintaining a safe workplace, even when the violation does not impact an injury. Documentation of safety violations always helps, but accurate recall of all conditions surrounding an accident can be crucial. Responsible contractors will always be safety conscious because of a legal duty of care to the worker and the understanding of potential negligence claims.
It is important to understand that injured workers must prove negligence in some manner to receive anything more than compensatory damages. Standard compensation insurance allows the worker to receive benefits based on their rate of pay after they have been off of work due to an on-the-job injury for seven days. After 14 days, the benefits are processed for payment. Delays in processing can be an indication of a problem with the employer. Do not hesitate to contact a worker’s compensation attorney if this occurs, preferably a construction specialist.
Construction sites can often be large operations and according to construction accident lawyer David Perecman, the possibility of negligence can be present across contractors. Construction companies are contracted by their craft and all companies are not equal in their willingness to comply with safety regulations. Negligence by one contractor can result in the injury of another company's employees. Construction injuries can also be severe enough to leave long-term damage to the victim, affecting future employment. Constant soreness can also be an indication of an on-the-job injury that will often require an attorney to prove, regardless of an accident.
Physically recovering from an on-the-job injury can be frustrating for the victim in its own right, but arguing with an employer over claiming responsibility and initiating benefits should be handled by an expert. In cases of multiple negligent parties, there will be resistance when the subject of punitive damages arises. Experienced construction attorneys know how to determine all negligent parties and assess the possible percentage of liability on the part of all involved employers, as well as determination of appropriate compensation awards.
Shelby Warden is a legal researcher and contributing author for New York’s construction accident lawyer David Perecman. If you have been injured on a construction site, your case may be won or lost based on the work done before it ever goes to trial. Contact the Perecman Law Firm as soon as possible, their experienced construction accident attorneys will fight to protect your rights.
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