Construction Vehicle Accident? A Cook County Construction Lawyer Can Help.
Construction vehicles are built to perform specific jobs. They are usually heavy and unable to make quick changes of direction. Cement delivery trucks, dump trucks, movable cranes, and earthmovers can seriously injure workers in construction vehicle accidents. If you suffered injuries in a construction vehicle accident, it would be in your best interest to speak with a Cook County construction accident lawyer about receiving compensation for your damages.
With these large vehicles moving around a building or road construction site, both operators and workers can be involved in a serious accident that can easily cause catastrophic injuries or wrongful death in a variety of scenarios, including the following:
- Trucks hauling construction materials can hit workers as they enter or exit the job site, or another truck on the site can inadvertently hit a construction worker
- A backhoe or crane might accidentally bump into building materials, resulting in workers being injured when the temporary structure collapses on them
- Any vehicle – even a pickup – might drive too close to an excavation, thereby causing a trench cave-in if it was improperly reinforced
- One vehicle might hit another on the construction site
What Happens When a Construction Vehicle Injures a Worker
In most cases, Illinois workers’ compensation is the first source of financial recovery when injuries occur at a construction site. This compensation is paid by the employers’ workers’ compensation insurers. But these benefits are limited in their scope and effectiveness, usually compensating the injured employee for medical bills, lost wages while they are disabled and a percentage of their wages if they become permanently disabled. Receiving fair, total payment through workers’ comp is virtually impossible.
In Illinois, all employers must have workers’ compensation insurance. If the employer fails to purchase it, an injured worker can sue the employer for damages in civil court.
Other exceptions to this rule include:
- If you are not an employee but a contracted worker (1099 as opposed to W2 employee)
- You were specifically and intentionally injured by your employer; such as he or she willfully struck you with their pickup truck on the job site.
However, other times you may be entitled to compensation from both workers’ comp, and through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against others who may be liable for the accident. So while you generally cannot sue your employer, you can file an insurance claim, and if necessary, sue third parties who injure you.
A third party is anyone other than your employer or another person who also works for your employer. As long as the driver in the construction vehicle who caused the accident works for someone else, you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against that negligent operator. You also can include his or her employer in your claim under the “respondent superior” statute, which establishes an employer’s liability for the mistakes made by his or her employees when they are working.
How Third-Party Claims Help Injured Construction Workers
Filing a personal injury lawsuit allows you to collect compensation for losses that are not covered by workers’ comp: such as pain and suffering and if applicable, full disability. You can also recover all of your lost wages, rather than the smaller percentage covered by workers’ comp. And if your attorney can prove defendant gross negligence or willful intent to injure you, punitive damages may be awarded in a third party lawsuit. Additional wrongful death damages are available to surviving family members.
Your employer’s workers’ comp insurer will, of course, have to be compensated for the full value of the claim it paid. But in the end, all of your damages for the accident will more than cover that amount, leaving you with a surplus.
Buttafuoco and Associates’ experienced Cook County construction accident lawyers offer a free consultation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-800-NOW-HURT or fill out our online contact form.