Construction workers face a high risk of injuries and fatalities on job sites. They often work with heavy machinery and equipment, work at heights and are frequently in contact with hazardous materials.
Without warning, a bad fall, electrocution or unexpected trench collapse can turn their lives upside down, jeopardizing their safety and livelihood.
What, then, can construction workers do to ensure they are protected and supported financially if they sustain an injury while at work?
In Chicago and around Midwest, if a construction worker is injured while on the job, they may have two possible options for obtaining compensation:
Lost wages through workers’ compensation benefits
People injured at work have the right to medical, surgical, and hospital treatment and may also receive vocational, physical and mental rehabilitation.
In Illinois, workers’ compensation can provide payments equal to two-thirds of a construction worker’s average weekly pay. This compensation is not taxable and can go up to the state-mandated limit, which may change every six months.
Costs for crutches, prescription drugs and supportive devices may also be reimbursable.
Total disability benefits can be available if the injury forces the injured to quit work, and partial disability benefits may be an option if the injured switches to a lower-paying job because of a lasting injury.
File a third-party lawsuit
Generally, workers’ compensation coverage protects employers against lawsuits. However, workers may still have options to file a lawsuit against other third parties. Property owners or individuals may also be liable for injuries a worker sustained.
For example, if the cause of injury is a defective machine, the injured may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
One may also pursue compensation through common law negligence lawsuits against an individual or entity that failed to ensure the safety of the workers while at work.
Are both options available to all injured construction workers?
A construction worker who gets hurt on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault. The law provides these benefits to ensure workers can get financial support until they can return to work or for the rest of their life if they’re permanently disabled.
A third-party lawsuit claim is a separate claim. It can provide payment outside the coverage of workers’ compensation. You could file one even if you already received benefits from worker’s compensation. However, strong proof of negligence or misconduct will be vital.
A construction worker’s job is dangerous. They should be compensated appropriately for the risk they are willing to take if they get hurt.