It’s too easy to be injured on a construction site. Exposed rebar, moving vehicles, unmarked hazards, burns, electrical shocks, cave ins, falling material, trench collapses, chemical exposure, lack of safety meetings, crane injuries, falls, careless subs and other unsafe conditions all cause injuries. Construction site injuries can create both L&I claims and Third Party Claims.
Construction site L&I claims are for the most part like any other L&I claim. Information about how to handle an L&I claim is all over this website. L&I Benefit Information and L&I Claims – A Beginners Guide.
The unusual thing about construction site injuries is that they often create two claims.
A worker hurt on any job in Washington State has an L&I workers compensation claim. A construction worker may also have a third party claim.
L&I is no fault workers’ compensation coverage in Washington State. After a job injury the worker and their doctor file a Report of Accident with the Department of Labor and Industries. This begins the L&I claim for medical and money benefits. There is no requirement or need to prove that someone was at fault.
L&I third party claims are negligence (fault) based. Fault is important. The injured worker must prove the negligence of the third party.
You have a third party claim if you are injured while on the job, by someone who is not your employer or a co-employee.
A third party claim is a personal injury claim together with an L&I claim, arising out of the same set of facts. When you have both an L&I claim and a personal injury claim, the personal injury claim is called a third party claim.
Third Party Claim Example #1
An employee of a subcontractor injured on the job by the general contractor or a different subcontractor has a third party claim. That employee has an L&I claim for the on the job injury and a third party personal injury claim because someone who is not his employer or co-employee injured him.
Third Party Claim Example #2
A truck driver on the job is injured on the highway in an accident involving another vehicle. This truck driver may have two claims. He has a no fault L&I claim for having been injured on the job. He also may have a third party fault based personal injury claim against that other driver.
Yes, you can have an L&I claim and also sue a third party. The L&I claim has a 1 year Statute of Limitations. The third party claim has a 3 year Statute of Limitations.
You pursue a third party because third party claims pay more. You can recover for all your lost wages, injuries, pain and suffering, and future loss of earning capacity.
L&I claims pay less than what you have lost. Time loss money is limited. Permanent Partial Disability settlements are small. L&I does not pay enough.
Yes, you can recover under both systems subject to the subrogation rights of L&I. How you proceed with a third party claim while being wary of L&I’s subrogation is important. Get details at Third Party Claims.
There are very important time deadlines for both third party claims and L&I claims. Don’t miss your deadline.
A third party claim requires fault (proof of negligence) to be successful.
To be successful with a third party construction site case you will need to prove fault. To prove fault you need evidence. Evidence can disappear quickly. It is important to take pictures, find and talk to witness, gather investigative reports, and encourage WISHA inspectors to visit the site. Get legal help if you need it
Construction site accidents are vigorously defended by experienced insurance adjusters and their stable of aggressive defense lawyers. To get the insurance company to take you seriously you will want to have your own lawyer.
You can sue a third party, but you cannot sue your employer or coworker for a job injury. The L&I system replaces your ability to sue your employer for his negligence. It doesn’t matter that it’s your employer’s fault. An exception to this rule is intentional injures. If the employers’ conduct was so over the top that he intended the injury then the employer can also be sued. More information at Can I Sue My Employer?
Another semi-exception to this rule exists for Temporary Workers. For more information see Temporary Agency Employee and Third Party Rights.
The third party election form starts the third party claim. This form is important. This is how you tell L&I what to do and where to go. Understand what you are doing before you complete this form. Don’t give up your right to a third party claim. Get details and a form here, Third Party Election Form.
WISHA, an arm of the Department of Labor & Industries, regulates job site safety in the state of Washington. A WISHA inspector can help you prove fault.
Construction site attorneys, crane accident lawyers, road construction lawyers all have a working knowledge of construction law and medical trauma. It’s their job to prove that your injuries are the result of the defendants negligence.
A good crane accident lawyer will help discover and prove improper rigging, overload, inadequate assembly, operator error, boom collapse, lack of safety precautions, and why other circumstances showing the accident happened.
Electrocutions and striking a worker or the public should not happen. When serious injuries occur, negligence and a violation of WISHA crane rules need to be proven. A crane accident attorney can help you do this. See the WISHA Rules for details. Contact the Sharpe Law Firm for results and legal help.
Road construction work puts the project, the workers, and the driving public in close proximity. Serious accidents happen. Common causes of road construction accidents include negligent traffic control, confusing signage, poor lane marking, rough surface, distracted driving, bad lighting, and roadway hazards. Serious injuries occur. Get advice, help, and a free consultation. Contact Us.
Accident investigations are conducted by WISHA, OSHA, L&I, employers, worker’s attorneys, private investigators, and insurance companies.
Employer reporting requirements. Every employer has their own policy about reporting an accident. Best policy is to inform your supervisor of your injury the same day it happens.
Insurance company. They may be on the hook to make payments as a result of an accident. They will have their own reporting requirements. Read the policy to figure out their requirements.
Telephone – Call for information or a free strategy session – 206-343-1988