Victims of construction accidents may file workers' compensation claims, but if a third party shares some responsibility for the accident, it may also be separately sued. Construction sites often have multiple parties involved, and accidents that happen are sometimes caused by the negligence of third parties.
By filing lawsuits against the third parties, injured victims may be able to maximize their recovery by holding the third parties accountable.
Understanding Third-Party Liability
Construction sites are complex, involving contractors, property owners, developers, suppliers and workers. Multiple parties may share some accident blame. While injured workers may file workers' compensation claims with their employers' insurance carriers, those claims may not provide benefits in a sufficient amount to pay for all of their losses. Illinois law allows injured construction workers to file lawsuits against the other responsible parties separately from their workers' compensation claims. The victim's employer may not be named as a lawsuit defendant, however.
How Juries Determine Damages in Third-Party Lawsuits
Illinois has a contributory negligence law. This means that juries determine the percentage of fault that each party holds in causing an accident in a case in which a personal injury lawyer in Crystal Lake heads to trial. If a plaintiff shares fault in his or her accident, then his or her award will be reduced by that amount. If a worker was more than 50 percent at fault, his or her claim against a third party will be barred. The worker will still be able to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits, however. When the worker shared no fault or less than 50 percent, the jury will determine the percentage of fault shared by each defendant as well as the employer. The injured victim may then recover the percentage of damages that is attributable to the various third parties.
Examples of Third-Party Liability
There are numerous examples of multiple parties holding a share of liability in construction site accidents. For example, a piece of equipment could have a defective component, allowing a worker who is injured while using it to sue the manufacturer and others involved in putting it into the market.
A subcontractor who puts up an unsupported wall may be liable if a person is injured by the wall falling on him or her. A personal injury lawyer in Crystal Lake may analyze an accident case in order to identify all of the parties that should be named as defendants.