Construction Accidents — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In Pennsylvania, as is the case elsewhere, construction accidents comprise the largest and most significant portion of overall accidents in the state. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015, the Pennsylvania private construction industry sector had the greatest share of fatalities (falls, slips, and trips contributed the most to this high fatality rate), for example, while related sectors — such as the transportation sector — lagged behind in second place.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, whether you are a worker in the construction industry on a company work-site or just a passerby, you may be entitled to obtain compensation for your injuries pursuant to Pennsylvania law. Goodrich & Geist, P.C. is a personal injury firm with a long track record of success in litigating a variety of injury claims, including those in the construction accident context. Our experienced lawyers have represented construction accident victims in Pittsburgh, Beaver, Erie, PA, and elsewhere in Pennsylvania. Call (413) 766-1455, or use our online contact form, to set up a free consultation with one of the construction accident attorneys here at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. today.
Q: Can I sue my employer if I have been injured in a construction accident?
A: Generally, if you are a construction industry employee who is injured in a workplace accident, you cannot sue your employer when you are injured. Instead, you will likely be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through your employer, which will help cover your various medical expenses and lost wages, among other losses.
Q: Can I sue a third party?
A: Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may be entitled to sue and recover damages against a liable third party. For example, suppose that you have been injured in a construction accident involving a defective power tool. You could ostensibly sue the manufacturer of the power tool on the basis of product defect liability.
Q: Is there a deadline for my injury claims?
A: In Pennsylvania, there are two statutes of limitations deadlines that you should be aware of in a construction accident context: 1) there is a statute of limitations period of three years from the date of injury for workers’ compensation claims, running from the date of injury (you must file a claim petition before the deadline passes), and 2) there is a statute of limitations period of two years for injury claims brought against third parties not subject to workers’ compensation, running from the date of injury.
If you do not file the appropriate claims before each applicable deadline passes, you will be barred from recovery. As such, it’s critical that you consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Q: Do I have to prove that my employer was negligent or reckless in order to obtain compensation?
A: No, you do not. Workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania does not require proof of negligence. To obtain compensation, you will have to show that you are, in fact, an employee of the defendant-employer and that you were injured on the job. Your construction injury need not have been caused by the employer’s negligence, which can make it a lot less stressful to make a workers’ comp claim!
Q: If my family member has died in a construction accident, what am I entitled to?
A: In Pennsylvania, if your family member has died in a construction accident, then you are not entitled to bring a wrongful death claim against the employer (assuming that the decedent would have been entitled to workers’ compensation). If you are a qualified survivor, however, then you will receive death benefits for the death of your loved one. Further, you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim against liable third parties, such as the manufacturer of a defective product that contributed to the death of your loved one.