September 28, 2020
Can you sue for a back injury you get while on the job at a construction site? The answer to this question is “maybe.” Whether you can sue for your construction site back injury depends upon the individual circumstances of your case. Here are a few instances in which you may be able to sue for your construction site back injury:
- If your employer does not provide workers’ compensation insurance
- If a third party caused your back injury
- If your employer intentionally caused your injury.
Every work injury case on a construction site is unique. To get accurate advice about your own case and your possible right to sue, it’s important to speak directly with a construction accident lawyer. Once the attorney learns the specifics of your case, he or she can guide you about your options for a construction injury lawsuit.
Is Your Construction Site Employer a Non-Subscriber to Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ comp insurance is intended to cover employees in cases of on-the-job injuries. It was basically put in place nationwide to protect against lawsuits. When employers carry workers’ comp, employees generally cannot sue them when they are hurt at work. So, in many construction injury cases, workers who are hurt must file workers’ comp claims through their employers instead of lawsuits.
However, Texas is the only state in the country that does not require employers to provide workers’ comp insurance. Employers who elect not to provide it are called non-subscribers. These non-subscribers may be sued when employees are hurt on the job due to the employers’ negligence.
Did a Third Party Cause Your Construction Site Back Injury?
If a party at the construction site who was not your employer caused your back injury, you may be able to bring a legal claim against that party. These claims are called third-party lawsuits. A third party could be a subcontractor, supplier, or vendor on a construction site whose careless actions caused your back injury. It could also be a product manufacturer whose product malfunctioned and caused injury.
Using scaffolding that collapses as an example, here are some scenarios when third parties on a construction site might be sued:
- When a supplier driving a truck accidentally rams scaffolding, causing it to collapse. The driver and trucking company may be sued.
- When a subcontractor improperly builds scaffolding and it collapses. The subcontractor may be sued.
- When scaffolding is built with defective materials and it collapses. In this case, the manufacturer of the defective scaffolding or the defective part that caused the collapse may be sued.
Can You Sue if Your Employer Intentionally Caused Your Back Injury?
If you believe your employer’s intentional conduct caused your back injury, you may be able to file a legal claim. This is the case even if the employer carries workers’ comp. For example, if you were to be physically assaulted by an employer and you hurt your back, this would quality as an intentional act. You may also be able to sue a co-worker if they assault you or otherwise intentionally injure you on the job. Often, however, they may be judgment proof.
What Compensation Can I Get in a Back Injury Lawsuit?
There is no single answer to this question. The compensation you could get will be based on the unique facts of your case. Generally, though, compensation for the following types of damages is often asked for in construction site injury cases:
- Medical costs for doctor, hospital, therapy, and other bills
- Prescription drug costs for pain pills and other medications
- Medical devices and equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers
- Time missed at work
- Reduced work capacity if you can no longer work or must work in a different and lower paying job
- Pain and suffering for ongoing physical pain and the emotional trauma caused by injury
- Punitive damages in some cases of extreme negligence.
Key to getting any compensation for your back injury is proving that the party you want to sue was negligent. It isn’t easy to prove negligence. When you have suffered a back injury in a construction site accident, it makes the most sense to have a skilled attorney review your case. A work injury attorney can advise you about your options for a claim and will take on the complex task of examining all the evidence to prove the other party’s negligence. In some cases, more than one party may be held responsible.
Timeline for Suing for a Construction Site Back Injury
Even if you are collecting workers’ comp, if you believe you might have a legal claim outside the workers’ comp system, don’t wait to speak with an attorney. There is generally a two-year statute of limitations from the date of injury for suing in on-the-job-injury cases. But there are several exceptions to this rule. ***Always speak directly with a licensed attorney to understand the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claims.*** Sometimes injuries don’t show up immediately. You might have an accident and feel okay, but then experience pain down the road.
It’s important to always speak directly to an experienced construction accident lawyer about the exact deadlines that apply to your claim.
What You Should Do If Your Back Was Injured in a Construction Site Accident
If you are in a construction site accident, get medical help right away. Even if you don’t feel like you are injured, a doctor will examine you and potentially order a variety of X-rays, scans, or other tests. A back injury can grow much worse if you don’t get treatment for it right away. And your medical records will be important evidence in a back injury lawsuit. Another thing you should consider doing is to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney. A construction accident lawyer knows how the Texas legal system works and may greatly increase your chances of receiving compensation.
Contact an Experienced Construction Accident Lawyer
Serious back injuries can have long-term debilitating effects. Some people who suffer severe back injuries that affect the spine may be paralyzed and be unable to walk again. Others may need surgery that can put them out of commission—and out of work—for a long time.
At Waldman Legal Group, our experienced Houston construction accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at (713) 688-4878.