Let’s say you’re the spouse of a construction worker, and you pop by the new site to bring your wife or husband some lunch. While you’re there, a crane malfunctions, hits a building, and a piece of debris falls and hits you, leaving you with a broken collar bone. You don’t work for the company, so you can’t file a workers’ compensation claim, but you also don’t know who’s at fault for your injury: is it the site inspector? Is it the crane manufacturer? Is it you?
These types of accidents – where people are injured on a job site where they don’t work – happen more than you think. They get hurt in auto accidents with construction vehicles, or by slipping and falling in unsafe areas. Or maybe they work in an entirely different industry as a contractor, and sustain an injury while on a worksite that isn’t theirs. None of these people would be eligible for workers’ compensation – but that doesn’t mean they can’t bring a claim for their injuries.
One of the most important elements of a personal injury claim is determining who, exactly, is liable for those injuries. Non-employees such as contractors, site visitors or even passers-by may be able to bring a third-party injury claim against:
- The site supervisor, manager or owner. If the site you are visiting is unsafe, and there A) have been no efforts to make it safe, and/or B) no indication or warning that it could be unsafe, you may have a claim against the person who runs that site.
- Product manufacturers, designers or retailers. If a crane collapses, or a piece of equipment breaks, or you come in contact with a dangerous product, the people in charge of creating and selling that product may be liable for your injuries. If warnings weren’t properly displayed, or if a product is marketed incorrectly, that could also be the basis of a claim.
- Employees, contractors or other site visitors. If you are hurt by another person, you can take legal action against the responsible party. From carelessness to negligence to acts of physical violence, you are within you rights to seek compensation if another person’s actions are directly related to your injuries.
Your next steps
If you are hurt on a worksite or at someone else’s place of employment, you’ll want to document your injuries so that your claim will move more smoothly. You should:
- Take pictures of yourself, your injuries and the place where you sustained them. Make sure those pictures are time-stamped.
- Fill out an accident report with the Human Resources department of the company on whose property you were injured, if applicable.
- Contact your insurance company and the local police, if you were hurt in an auto accident, so that there are records of the incident.
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible, but preferably within the first few days of your injury. Do this even if you don’t feel hurt. Not every injury is felt immediately, and you could find yourself in increasing pain over the course of a few days.
- Call a personal injury lawyer, even if you are unsure whether you have a case. The initial consultation with a lawyer is almost always free, and if you do have a viable claim, you probably won’t have to pay anything until you win your case. (We call this method of payment a contingency fee, because our fees are contingent on the success of your claim.)
No matter where you sustained your injury, you may be able to seek compensation to pay for your medical bills, your lost time at work, and your pain and suffering. If you were injured on a worksite that wasn’t your worksite, you still have options. Speak with an experienced personal injury today to find out what they are.
by Larry Pitt & Associates