Third Party Claims
Construction accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. Many workers who are injured under these circumstances on the job can collect workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include coverage for medical expenses and lost income. Workers’ compensation benefits may also be your exclusive remedy with regard to your employer. New York also has several special labor laws that may apply to your situation, and that would allow you to sue the involved contractor or property owner in order to recover damages for your construction accident. For example, if you fall from scaffolding, there is a specific scaffold law that you may be able to invoke in a lawsuit. However, there are also construction accidents that are not covered by these special labor laws if they are the result of another party’s actions or omissions on the site. In that case, you may be able to bring a third-party claim against a party that is not your employer. If you believe you may have a third-party claim arising out of a job site injury, the skilled Syracuse construction accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can evaluate the facts of your case.What is a Third-Party Claim?
A third-party claim is a lawsuit for damages that you bring against a person or business that you are not employed by, and whose actions caused your workplace injury. Generally, workers’ compensation benefits may not be robust enough to fully compensate you for your injuries arising out of a construction accident. They may involve you recouping a portion of your economic losses, but not all of them.
Third party claims may involve slip and falls, collapsing structures or balconies, uneven or deteriorating stairs, defective rails, improper lighting, electrical wiring problems, chemical burns, car or truck accidents, defective machine guards, and dangerous or defective products. For example, if you work for a subcontractor on a job site, and a different subcontractor creates a safety issue that causes your injuries, you may be able to sue the subcontractor for its negligence. Similarly, if you are hit by a truck driven by someone who is dropping off supplies and distracted while driving, you may be able to sue that driver for negligence. As another example, if the maintenance crew leaves a slippery substance in the work area and you slip and fall, you may have a third-party claim against the maintenance company. If you are using a defective power tool and lose your arm as a result of the defect, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.Liability
The theory under which you can recover on a third-party claim depends on the particular circumstances of the case, and a skilled construction accident lawyer can assess which legal arguments may be most appropriate for you. Many third-party claims are brought under a theory of negligence. In a case involving a materialman’s negligence while driving on a construction site, for example, you would need to establish the materialman’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. You would need to meet this standard in proving: (1) the defendant materialman owed you a duty of care, (2) the materialman breached the duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages.
If you are injured by a defective product, you may be able to recover from the product manufacturer under a theory of strict liability. You can establish strict liability without proving that the defendant’s acts or omissions fell below a standard of care. In this sort of case, you will need to establish a marketing, manufacturing, or design defect.Damages
You may be able to recover compensatory damages if you can establish third party liability. Compensatory damages are damages intended to place you in the position you would have been in had there been no accident. Unlike with workers’ compensation benefits, which address economic losses such as medical bills, you can recover noneconomic damages in a third-party claim. Noneconomic losses you may be able to recover can include amounts for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, scarring, and disfigurement.Syracuse Attorneys for Workers Injured in Construction Accidents
At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our experienced lawyers represent construction accident victims in third-party claims in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Oswego, Watertown, Utica, Wampsville, Elmira, Lowville, Cooperstown, Canandaigua, Lyons, Binghamton, Oneida, Ithaca, Auburn, and Herkimer. Call our firm at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.