On construction sites, employers have a responsibility to protect their employees and others who are on the site conducting business related to the construction. If an employee suffers an injury on the job, that employee is entitled to compensation, typically workers’ compensation. A bystander who is injured also has grounds for a claim, most likely a personal injury one.
First, let’s explore what worker’s compensation is. When you suffer an injury on the job, the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation system is designed to provide you with benefit payments to make up for any medical bills, lost wages, or any permanent disability and pain. One of the major factors in a typical workers’ compensation claim is whether you have reached the maximum medical improvement. This affects whether you are cleared to return to work in the same capacity or the possibility that you have to continue receiving compensation for any additional medical treatment.
The state has a full description of workers’ compensation benefits that may apply to you, how long you may receive the benefits for, and most importantly how much you can collect.
Social Security Disability Claim
Next, there is the possibility of a Social Security Disability Insurance claim (SSDI). It may be easier to qualify for SSDI when you have suffered a severe injury that prevents you from performing the hard, physical labor your job requires. You must be unable to work for at least 12 months, meet the non-medical requirements set by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and you will need to provide supporting documentation and evidence that prove you meet these criteria. Having an experienced SSDI lawyer is key because this process can be complex and overwhelming. See our blog on SSDI to learn more.
What happens in the case of disability retirement? There are three types of disability retirements: accidental disability, ordinary disability, and involuntary disability. Typically, you can apply for accidental disability if you have sustained an injury or hazard while in the performance of your duties at a definite time and place and without willful misconduct. Generally speaking, accidental disability applicants do not need to meet a minimum age or service requirement. Providing notice to your retirement board and employer is crucial when you have been in an accident or are exposed to a health hazard. The notice should be filed within 90 days of the occurrence of the hazard or injury.
Personal Injury Claim
Additionally, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. The victim of a construction site accident files a lawsuit against the responsible companies or individuals responsible. The injured party may receive compensation for their injuries, lost wages, medical costs, as well as pain and suffering. If someone is killed in a construction accident, the surviving family may file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation for the loss of a loved one.
Lastly, you can file a third-party claim. These legal claims are not brought against your employer. Rather, they are filed against another third party who was fully or partially at fault for your accident. The third party may be a business or individual whose negligence played a part in your injuries. These cases usually go through the Department of Industrial Accidents to obtain an approved third-party settlement.
Attorney Horrigan spent eleven years as staff defense counsel to an insurer that offered compressive general liability insurance to many large commercial policyholders including construction contractors. As a result, he tried many jury trials in the Superior Court while representing some large construction general contractors. He now advises workers on how to navigate the system.