Frequently Asked Questions
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Construction Accidents

  1. I was working at a construction site and was injured. Who can I sue?
  2. Can I file a lawsuit against persons or entities that caused my injury even if I am collecting workers' compensation benefits?
  3. What if my employer is at fault for causing my injuries?
  4. I was working as a subcontractor at a construction site and received a severe injury. What are my rights against the owner and general contractor in a lawsuit?
  5. What types of accidents occur on construction sites?
  6. I was injured while visiting or walking by a construction site. Who can I sue for my injuries?
  7. How important is it for my attorney to retain highly qualified experts in construction cases?
  8. What damages are recoverable in construction accident cases?
  9. Do I need to retain an attorney in a construction accident case?
  10. What are the Statutes of Limitations for construction site accidents?

Questions & Answers

I was working at a construction site and was injured. Who can I sue?
Answer:
If you are injured while working at a construction site, it is important that you and your legal counsel consider all of the potential defendants who may be liable for your injuries. These can include other subcontractors whose employees were negligent, the property owner or the manufacturer and distributors of defective construction equipment and tools. Each case is different and it requires thorough investigation and careful review of the facts to identify the at-fault parties.

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Can I file a lawsuit against persons or entities that caused my injury even if I am collecting workers' compensation benefits?
Answer:
Yes. If third parties other than your employer caused your injuries, you may bring a “third-party” lawsuit against them even though you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits available under Workers’ Compensation are limited by state statute and do not include many significant damages such as pain, suffering, emotional distress or disfigurement. Therefore, a third-party claim may be your only way to be fully compensated for your damages.

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What if my employer is at fault for causing my injuries?
Answer:
In Minnesota and most other states you are barred from suing your employer for negligence. That means that if you or your employer is 100% at fault, your remedies will be limited to workers’ compensation benefits. There is a narrow exception where the conduct of the employer is so outrageous as to be considered intentional or wanton and reckless. However, if a third-party such as the employee of another supplier or contractor contributed to the accident, you may still file suit on a third-party claim.

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I was working as a subcontractor at a construction site and received a severe injury. What are my rights against the owner and general contractor in a lawsuit?
Answer:
The owner and general contractor are potential third-party defendants when there is a construction site injury. In general, the property owner has a duty to maintain the premises in a safe condition for the construction workers and the general contractor has a duty to coordinate the subcontractors and oversee the implementation of reasonable safety procedures. Determining the rights of an injured worker against third parties requires thorough investigation of the facts and review of the construction contracts and other legal documents.

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What types of accidents occur on construction sites?
Answer:

Common types of accidents on construction sites include:
  • Falls
  • Electrical accidents
  • Being struck by large objects such as extensions on heavy equipment
  • Workers being caught by their equipment, such as power tools
Nevertheless, studies have consistently shown that contractors can reduce construction site injuries by anticipating workplace hazards and consistently implementing and enforcing reasonable safety procedures.

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I was injured while visiting or walking by a construction site. Who can I sue for my injuries?
Answer:
You may have a valid case against the property owner or any of the contractors whose conduct caused you to be injured. Your attorney will want to investigate all of the facts including your reason for being at the construction site and whether your injury was reasonably foreseeable.

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How important is it for my attorney to retain highly qualified experts in construction cases?
Answer:
It is critical to have highly qualified experts in any serious injury case. Construction safety expert is often required to explain how the defendants violated the standard of care by failing to follow accepted safety procedures and regulations. In addition to a construction safety expert, your attorney will need to work closely with your treating physicians and vocational experts to make sure that all of your damages including medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering can be established at trial.

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What damages are recoverable in construction accident cases?
Answer:
The damages recoverable will depend on a number of factors including the law of the state where the accident occurred. Ordinarily the injured worker is entitled to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, past and future pain, and suffering and if the defendant’s conduct is bad enough, punitive damages.
If the worker dies in the accident, his or her survivors may be entitled to recover full compensation for their economic losses including damages which stem from the loss of the society, care, and companionship of their loved one.

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Do I need to retain an attorney in a construction accident case?
Answer:
Yes. The law in construction accident cases is extraordinarily complex and you need a law firm that is experienced and familiar with construction accident litigation. It is crucial to review the facts of your construction accident case with an experienced lawyer to determine if you have a valid claim against a third party. If you fail to consult an attorney and the applicable statute of limitations runs, you may be barred from recovering for your damages. Therefore, it is always wise to consult with a law firm that represents injured workers as soon as possible.

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What are the Statutes of Limitations for construction site accidents?
Answer:
The statute of limitations will depend on the facts of the accident and the applicable law where the accident occurs. In Minnesota the statute of limitations can be as short as two years and as long as six years, depending on alternate theories of liability. If the governmental body, such as a city or state, has fault for your injury, even shorter notice requirements may apply. If you have not settled your case or placed it in suit before the applicable statute of limitations has run, you will be barred from making a third-party recovery for your damages. Because the Legislature and courts can change the statute of limitations, it is critical to contact a law firm that is experienced in construction injury law as soon as possible after the accident.

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