When you are injured in a construction accident at work, you usually cannot sue your employer, in most states, including Maryland, Virginia, and DC. The only claim against your employer is a workers’ compensation claim. However, what many people who are injured in a construction accident do not realize is that you may have a distinct and separate claim, if you were hurt on the construction site by the negligence of a party, other than your employer. This is called a third party claim, and this claim can be made in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if you were injured because of a dangerous condition at a job site, and the dangerous condition was caused by the negligence of a subcontractor (that was not your employer) then a civil lawsuit can be filed against that subcontractor.
There are benefits to the pursuing both claims simultaneously. The workers’ compensation claim against your employer will usually pay lost wages and medical bills as these economic losses are being incurred. In contrast, when you recover money in a third party civil claim, you usually need to wait until the claim is over to recover your economic losses. This can sometimes take years. By pursuing both at the same time, your medical bills and lost wages are being recovered while you are waiting for the civil recovery. However, in the civil case you can recover money damages for other things such as pain, suffering and inconvenience. These types of damages are not allowed in a workers’ compensation claim.
There are many other important factors to consider in making the decision as to whether to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or a third party civil claim, or both. The most important thing for an employee injured in a construction accident is that they consider all claims against all potential liable parties. If you, or a loved one is injured in a construction accident, you should call the Maryland, Virginia, and DC personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. to discuss your case, and make sure all of your rights are fully protected.