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Construction Accidents

Construction Accident Lawyers in San Francisco

Injured on a Construction Site? Call Our Firm for Help.

Construction workers who help build and expand our communities face some of the greatest risks for injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Whether it’s a residential, commercial, or publicly-funded or subsidized infrastructure project, worksites are often filled with various hazards, heavy machinery, and different tradesmen, laborers, and contractors whose ability to collaborate effectively is vital to keeping workers free from harm.

Unfortunately, even the most safety conscientious workers can suffer injuries, which is why there are systems in place that enable injured workers to obtain needed benefits and compensation to treat their injuries and make ends meet while they recover. Navigating the pathways to compensation, however, is no easy task – as construction workers may have more options than applying for workers’ compensation benefits.

If you were injured on a job site or while visiting one, call Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn. We are experienced in construction accident cases and have won millions of dollars for our clients.

Call our San Francisco construction accident attorneys at (415) 940-7176 to schedule a free consultation.

Personal Injury Lawsuits vs. Workers’ Compensation

Personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims work similarly in terms of providing needed benefits, but differ drastically in the types of benefits provided and how they are obtained.

In construction accident cases, we get many questions from potential clients about what rights they have, and whether they can pursue a personal injury lawsuit rather than a workers’ compensation claim.

The answer to that question, as with many questions involving the law, is: it depends. The unique facts of your particular case will ultimately dictate which pathway to compensation you may take. For example:

  • If you were injured in a construction accident as a bystander, perhaps as a pedestrian or bicyclist who was struck by a falling object dropped by a worker while passing near or through a construction site, any legal action you pursue will likely be a civil lawsuit, or more specifically a “tort.” That means you’ll be filing a personal injury suit against the at-fault party you claim should be held liable for your damages.
  • If you are a construction worker who was injured during the course of your job, the situation is more complex. In many cases, injured employees go through workers’ comp, which our firm does not handle. But in some workplace accident cases, there may be the opportunity to file a third party construction accident lawsuit for personal injury, which are cases our firm has a proven record of winning.

Since injured construction workers may have options after a work-related accident, it’s important to understand how workers’ compensation and personal injury lawsuits differ in California.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Workers’ comp is a form of insurance most employers are required to carry by law. As a form of “no-fault” insurance, it provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries that prevent them from working, no matter who is at fault. In exchange, workers must relinquish their right to sue their employer.

Benefits provided by workers’ compensation depend on the nature of the injury, such as partial or permanent disability, and are generally limited to medical expenses (usually through an approved provider), wage supplementation (up to a certain percent of your income), and things like vocational rehabilitation.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury lawsuits are civil claims, and unlike workers’ comp, they allege that someone is at-fault for causing preventable injuries, and that the at-fault party should be held financially liable for the resulting damages. Though personal injury cases vary in the specific laws that apply, they generally require victims to prove that another’s negligence caused them harm and losses, which can be a complex endeavor.

When successful, however, personal injury lawsuits can provide victims with a more robust financial recovery than what’s typically available through workers’ comp. That includes economic damages related to medical bills, future medical expenses, lost income, and more. It also includes non-economic damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other emotional injuries, which are not available with workers’ comp.

Third Party Liability in Construction Accident Cases

If you’re a worker who has been injured in a construction accident, you may have the right to pursue financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit rather than a workers’ comp claim if certain circumstances apply. Usually, this means a third party that is NOT your employer has caused your injuries.

Here are a few examples of construction accidents which may give rise to third party liability:

  • Negligent contractors – Construction sites often have a number of contractors and subcontractors, as well as various skilled tradesmen and laborers. If one of these contractors or subcontractors causes or contributes to your injuries as result of negligence, you may have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. This is because they’re not your employer, and are considered a third party.
  • Defective products – Construction workers use all types of tools, equipment, and machinery. If a construction accident stems from a defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed product, workers injured as a result may have the right to pursue a third party claim against the product manufacturer. Manufacturers are obligated under product liability laws to ensure the safety of their products.
  • Negligent property owners – You may have a potential third party claim if your construction accident resulted from the negligence of a property owner. Under premises liability law, property owners have a legal duty to address potential hazards they knew or should have known about. If a property owner knew about a broken staircase, for example, but did nothing to fix it, they may be held liable.
  • Chemical exposure – Some construction workers are exposed to dangerous substances and chemicals in the course of performing their work, such as asbestos or lead. In cases where workers suffer immediate injuries as a result of chemical exposure, or latent illnesses that manifest years after initial exposure, they may have the ability to seek compensation outside of workers’ comp through cases known as toxic torts. These claims are usually made against the manufacturers of a harmful substance, products which contain harmful substances, or certain parties that failed to protect workers from known exposure risks.
  • Auto accidents – Construction workers who are injured in auto accidents may also have the right to seek compensation through personal injury lawsuits rather than workers’ comp claims. These cases may involve truck or commercial vehicle accidents involving a negligent contractor, a regular motorist who negligently struck a construction worker near or in a worksite, and other similar situations.

Given the many different types of construction accidents and various laws, it can be difficult to determine when you may have a potential third party personal injury case. If you believe your accident was caused by the negligence of a third party, our construction accident attorneys in San Francisco can help you take a closer look at the circumstances involved, determine if you have a viable personal injury lawsuit, and explain what our team at Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn can do to guide you through the civil lawsuit process.

Get Started on Your Case with a Free Consultation

With our decades of experience, we have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we know what it takes to prove negligence on the part of a third party. Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn has relationships with numerous professionals throughout the legal community, and we can leverage those to give clarity to your case. Let us help you fight for the compensation you need.

Contact our San Francisco construction accident lawyers today at (415) 940-7176 to get started on your case.

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