Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Outside of Workers’ Compensation?

December 7, 2017
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

If you are injured on a worksite, you may be able to file a claim for damages against other persons or entities besides and in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. Whether you are entitled to depend on the specific circumstances of the accident and the injuries you sustained.

Usually, construction site jobs involve working with other companies, subcontractors, or other third-party vendors. There are frequently many people on construction job sites who are using heavy machinery, driving large trucks, hauling materials, navigating scaffolding, and such. With so much activity involving potentially dangerous tools and materials, there are many ways that you can be injured due to someone else’s negligence. Additionally, you can be injured by other people who are not even on the job site, like architects, suppliers, and engineers. If you suffer an injury due to negligence on the part of one of those persons, you may be able to file a claim against that person, as well as their employer.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Workplace Injury

When you are injured by someone else’s negligence on a construction site, filing your claim follows the same procedures as if you were filing a personal injury suit after a car accident. To have a valid claim, you have to prove the following:

  • that the other person (or entity) had a responsibility to you to act in a safe and reasonable manner
  • that the person or entity did not adequately perform that duty (they were negligent), and
  • that you suffered injuries caused by that negligence

Injuries can be caused by the negligence of a person or entity in a number of ways on a construction site. Some of the ways include:

  • a fall caused by improperly erected scaffolding
  • negligent or reckless driving of construction vehicles that result in an accident
  • safety equipment that has design defects that cause injury
  • defective equipment that causes electric shocks
  • toxic chemical spills or leaks that occur due to defective equipment or faulty decision-making
  • collapsing trenches due to improperly installed supports
  • repetitive motion injuries

In those situations and more, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the person or entity responsible, including product and machinery designers and manufacturers.

Filing Product Liability Claims for Workplace Injuries

Construction site injuries are sometimes caused by a workplace tool or piece of equipment – not due to improper use, but rather due to manufacturing or design flaws. If that occurs, then you would file your claim as a product liability case. Defendants in these types of cases may be anyone from the product designer, manufacturer, or supplier of the parts used in the product’s assembly. Even though those defendants may be well-distanced from your particular worksite, in both time and location, they may still be found liable for the injuries that you sustained.

Proving a product liability case is much the same as other types of civil lawsuits, but the elements that you have to prove are a little different. In a product liability case you must prove:

  • that the equipment or tool that caused your injury was unreasonable hazardous when it was shipped or delivered from the manufacturer or supplier
  • that you were using the equipment or tool properly, in the manner intended, and
  • that the equipment or tool had a defect that resulted in your injury

Find Help for Your Workplace Injury

Depending on the details of your workplace accident and injuries, you may be entitled to far more than what workers’ compensation allows. You need to find legal representation from an attorney who is skilled in workers’ compensation claims as well as personal injury cases. Philadelphia accident attorney, Rand Spear, is that attorney. Call 1-877-GET-RAND to get started on your case today.