If you’ve been injured in a construction accident in California, you may be wondering what your legal options are. A workers’ compensation claim is the solution for the majority of on-the-job injuries. However, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a personal injury claim as well, which could provide you with compensation for things not covered by workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering.

To learn more about your specific legal options, contact Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, and one of our attorneys will be able to go over your case with you.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Under most circumstances, a construction accident will result in a workers’ compensation claim. According to Section 3600 of the California Labor Code, workers who are injured on the job can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp pays for necessary medical expenses, offsets a portion of lost wages, covers vocational retraining if necessary, and pays disability benefits for long-term impairments related to the injury.

The state considers an injury to happen on the job if the injured worker was performing a service related to their employment or was acting within the course of their employment, and those actions caused the injury. For example, if you were on a roof because of your construction job and slipped and fell, that would likely qualify for workers’ compensation.

Injuries Caused by Your Employer

There are three cases in which your employer could be directly liable for injuries that they caused, as laid out by Section 3602 of the California Labor Code:

  1. Your injuries are the result of an intentional physical assault by your employer.
  2. Your injuries worsened as a result of your employer attempting to fraudulently conceal that your employment caused them.
  3. Your injuries result from a defective product manufactured by your employer and provided for you to use in the scope of your employment.

Failure to Secure Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Section 3700 of the California Labor Code states that every employer except for the state must have worker’s compensation or must be self-insured following certification from the Director of Industrial Relations.

Section 3706 of the California Labor Code states that if an employer doesn’t have either workers’ compensation or other insurance to cover employee injuries, injured employees may file a claim against the employer instead.

Removal or Failure to Install Safety Systems

Finally, Section 4558 of the California Labor Code explains that an employer may be directly liable for injuries caused by the removal of or failure to install safety systems. In the construction industry, this may take many forms, including:

  • Failure to provide personal fall arrest equipment for employees working at height
  • Failure to provide high-visibility vests or hardhats for employees
  • Failure to install trench shield systems to prevent collapses
  • The removal of floor hole coverings and signage

Third-Party Claims

While workers’ compensation laws protect employers from being sued in most circumstances, those protections do not extend outside the employer–employee relationship. In other words, a worker injured by someone other than their employer can file a lawsuit against that person. For example, a worker injured by a defective power tool could file suit against the tool’s manufacturer.

Personal Injury Claims

Under certain circumstances, an injured construction worker may be able to file a personal injury claim instead of or in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. These circumstances include if your employer deliberately caused your injuries, doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, or removed or failed to install safety systems, leading to your injuries. A successful personal injury suit allows an injured worker to secure money for things not covered by workers’ comp, such as the full value of their lost wages as well as their pain and suffering.

Construction Accident Attorneys in Walnut Creek

Were you injured in a construction accident in Walnut Creek, California? Contact Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. You could be owed money for what happened, and we want to help you demand it.