Construction workers face many dangers on the job. Construction sites are full of heavy equipment, unfinished wiring, scaffolding, ladders and a myriad of other tools and equipment that make for an unstable environment. In fact, construction workers and laborers experience some of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries in the country.
No matter the injury, when it happens at work, you assume workers’ compensation benefits will cover the costs of your injuries and pay for things like medical expenses and lost wages. However, workers compensation benefits have limits. First, the benefits only cover a portion of your pay which may not be enough. And, by filing a workers’ compensation claim, employees are barred from filing a separate lawsuit against their employer. However, there are a few exceptions for which workers can pursue other types of claims to potentially receive much greater financial awards.
Workers Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning workers can collect benefits regardless of who was to blame for the accident. If you suffer an on-the-job injury in New Jersey and your employer has workers compensation insurance, you can file a claim to receive:
- Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability.
- Temporary Disability Loss of Income: You can get 70% of the wages of your average weekly amount (with maximums) if your temporary disability claim is approved.
- Life Pension: If you are severely disabled with more than a 70% permanent disability rating, you can receive weekly life pension benefits at 70% of your pay, up to certain maximums.
- Death Benefits: If a workplace injury results in death, the surviving members of the worker’s family can file a claim for death benefits to cover various expenses.
Keep in mind that New Jersey’s workers comp disability benefits cover 70% of your pay, which may not be enough to cover all of your usual expenses. And, the payments cannot exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage, which was $1419 in 2020.
Compensation Options for Construction Workers After an Injury
While workers’ compensation bars you from filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against your employer, there may be other parties liable for a construction accident. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can collect money for damages beyond the limitation of the workers compensation system. In some cases, this could mean compensation for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, or even punitive damages.
In some cases, you may also be able to sue a third party other than your employer who is partially responsible for your injury. Common examples of liable parties for third party lawsuits after a construction accident include the property owner, subcontractor, General Contractor, and product manufacturers.
For example, suppose you suffer an injury using machinery at the job site that was ultimately caused by a defective part. Or perhaps the injury was caused by a subcontractor or property owner failing to warn you of hazards or dangerous conditions. In that case, you might be able to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the defective part, the subcontractor or property owner. in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim
Personal injury claims often seek greater award amounts than workers compensation, as they do not have the two-thirds limit on lost wages and offer more in non-economic damages. Common types of damages include medical expenses, lost income (with no limitations), and compensation for intangible losses like pain and suffering. In cases of severe injury, a personal injury claim will also seek compensation for your anticipated future losses -- like ongoing medical care and the income you would have received, for not the accident.
Contact Us For Help with Your Construction Accident Claim
A construction site is often chaotic; any one or more entities may be legally liable when a construction worker is injured or killed. If you’ve been injured, you should contact an attorney who can help you understand your options.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey and New York with their injury cases. We have years of experience in both workers compensation and personal injury claims. Our top-rated attorney team has the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, contact us immediately to discuss your case.