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Construction worker accidents: Who pays?

When a construction worker is injured on the job in North Carolina, where can he or she turn for compensation?

One source of benefits is workers' compensation. However, workers' compensation benefits are limited. If the accident was caused by someone's else's carelessness or negligence, the injured construction worker may have additional options.

Employers are generally protected from being sued by employees for injuries suffered on the job, even they were negligent. However, third parties (generally anyone who is not the employer or does not work for the employer) can be sued if they were negligent. These are known as third-party claims.

Construction sites are unique in that they include many third parties who may be liable for injuries resulting from an accident. Here are a few examples:

  • The property owner where the work was performed
  • Other contractors working on the site
  • Suppliers of materials used on the site
  • Manufacturers of unsafe equipment used on the site
  • Equipment operators
  • Other drivers in motor vehicle accidents

Filing a third-party claim allows the injured construction worker to seek compensation for damages not covered by workers' compensation, including:

  • Lost wages not paid by workers' compensation
  • Pain and suffering

Filing a third-party personal injury claim can make the difference between financial security and financial hardship following a construction accident. Family members can file wrongful death claims against third parties for fatal construction accidents.

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