Construction sites are a bee hive of activity. The workers of the general and subcontractors crawl over each other in their rush to get the job done. There are a hundreds of deaths and many thousands of seriously disabling injuries each year.
Roofs, beams, unprotected openings, and scaffolds are places from which workers’ fall. Equipment, trucks, cranes, and materials strike and injure workers. Trench collapses and falling walls squash workers. Electrocutions happen to often. Construction sties are dangerous places.
Construction site injuries 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. Here is the Index.
The unusual thing about construction site claims 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 also often has a third party claim.
You have a third party claim if you are injured on the job by someone who is not your employer or a co-employee. For example a subcontractor injured by the general contractor or a different subcontractor, has a third party claim. He also has an L&I claim. You can have both claims at the same time. More about THIRD PARTY CLAIMS.
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 (SOL). The third party claim has a 3 year Statute of Limitations (SOL).
L&I claims are no fault, however a third party claim requires fault (proof of negligence) to be successful.
The general contractor has the responsibility for safety on the work site. The sub contractors are responsible to ensure a safe work place regarding their scope of work and the zone of danger under their control.
The material suppliers are responsible for the movement and storage of the materials they bring on to the work site.
The manufacturer of products are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of safe use of their product.
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
In Washington State, when you have a workers’ compensation claim, you usually cannot sue your employer or a co-worker for job injuries. 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?
WISHA, an arm of the Department of Labor & Industries, regulates job site safety in the state of Washington.
WAC 296-155-040 (1) Each employer shall furnish to each employee a place of employment free from recognized hazards…
WAC 296-155-040 (2)….Every employer shall do everything reasonably necessary to protect the life and safety of its employees.