Every year, construction site negligence results in a variety of accidents, such objects falling from heights, slips, lifting injuries, equipment malfunctions, and toxic exposure to hazardous substances. In these cases, the victim is entitled under Illinois law to pursue financial recovery to help them deal with the consequences that they have and will face.
Depending on the nature of the accident and who caused it, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits or able to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for causing the accident. The availability of each of these paths depends on specific Illinois laws that may be difficult for you to assess on your own.
Therefore, you can benefit from the experience and resources of the dedicated Chicago construction accident lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices. Call us today at (312) 578-8502 to get started with a free initial case assessment.
Causes of Construction Accidents in Chicago
Construction sites are full of potential hazards, regardless of the size or nature of the project. Some of these hazards can be made worse by the negligence of the various parties involved. Below are some of the most common causes of construction site accidents and injuries in Chicago.
Incidents where people are struck by items falling from heights rank among the highest causes of negligent injury throughout the country every year. This is a particularly significant issue on construction sites, where tools, equipment, and materials may not be secured appropriately if being used on ladders or scaffolding.
Slip and Falls
Construction sites often utilize temporary flooring or stairs to facilitate the workers getting to the locations that they need to. Even though this ground is only temporary, it is still necessary to make sure that it is safe for use. If there are hazards that cannot be cured, the operator must indicate to both workers and others that may walk through the area that the ground is unstable and to use caution.
Construction work often includes the moving of heavy materials or equipment from one place to another. The site operator should provide safe options and training for workers who frequently must carry heavy loads on site. Even still, the force that lifting heavy objects can put on a person’s body can cause muscle strains, stress fractures, or back injuries. Workers may also exacerbate preexisting conditions, which may be compensable through Workers’ Compensation despite the original injury occurring earlier.
Construction equipment and machinery manufacturers have a legal duty to make products free of defects that could foreseeably cause harm in case of malfunction. This is because workers who rely on their equipment working as intended can sustain serious injuries if the equipment were to malfunction. Construction equipment leasing companies owe similar duties, so it may help to discuss your case with a Chicago construction accident lawyer to help you determine who is liable for your injuries.
Construction site operators will often contract with scaffolding companies to provide the structures that allow them to do their work effectively. However, effective scaffolding must be built, installed, and maintained properly in order to prevent catastrophic failure. If scaffolding were to shift or collapse while workers are using it, the resulting injuries could be severe.
Construction projects on older buildings or industrial facilities can often reveal dangerous chemicals or other substances such as asbestos. These can cause workers to contract serious illnesses that may result in long-term or even indefinite disabilities. If you were recently diagnosed with an illness that you believe may be connected to your work on a construction site, learn more about your potential recovery from your Chicago construction accident attorney.
Liability Rules for Construction Accident Injury Recovery in Chicago
If you were injured while on the job in Chicago, there are ways for you to recover financial compensation that will help you deal with the consequences. However, it is important to identify the path (or paths) that may be available to you to seek this compensation.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act makes Workers’ Compensation Insurance the “exclusive remedy” for employees who are injured in accidents where no fault or assigned or where their employer was at fault. In other words, if your employer’s negligence led to your workplace injury, you likely cannot file a lawsuit to recover compensation. Instead, you must file a claim under the Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage that your employer provides.
There are a few notable exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule that may allow a construction accident injury victim to file a lawsuit. This is often the better (and more lucrative) path to recovery. Our Chicago construction accident attorneys have provided a brief summary of these exceptions below.
Exceptions to Exclusive Remedy Workers’ Compensation Rule for Construction Accidents in Chicago
In 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court determined that employees who contract illness or injury due to toxic exposure on their job site may step outside of the exclusive remedy rule if their employer’s negligence played a role in causing their exposure.
You can also sue your employer directly if they caused your injury intentionally. When an employer intentionally harms an employee, their actions are viewed as outside the scope of the business. Therefore, the employer does not receive the same protection from liability through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
You should also consider whether a third party, such as a subcontractor or product manufacturer was responsible for causing your workplace injury, as these parties are not shielded from liability for a workplace accident.
When it comes to Workers’ Compensation, independent contractors may run into difficulties in their recovery efforts. Technically, independent contractors are not eligible for Workers’ Compensation coverage in Illinois. However, employers frequently misclassify their traditional employees as independent contractors.
Therefore, even if you file a 1099 income tax return rather than a W-2, it is possible that you have been classified incorrectly and are still eligible for compensation for your construction injuries. Discuss the qualities that separate an independent contractor from a traditional employee with your Chicago construction accident lawyer.
Get Compensation for Your Chicago Construction Accident Injury with Rhatigan Law Offices
To get a free initial case assessment from the seasoned Chicago construction accident lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices, reach out to us at (312) 578-8502 at your earliest convenience.