Usually when injuries occur at a construction site, the initial claim is for workers compensation benefits from the employer of the injured person. When another company and/or their employees at the construction site are negligent, there may be a second case against the construction company and/or their employees. The Kansas workers compensation laws protect the employer you are working for and coworkers and you cannot sue them. However, when the negligent person or company is a third party, someone other than your employer or coworker, you have a bodily injury case against the negligent third party. In other words, you may have two cases, first your workers compensation case, and second a personal injury case against the third party (the negligent company or worker working for another company).
Under the workers compensation laws, you must seek treatment through the doctors that your employer sends you to. These are the “authorized’’ doctors and any treatment through them will be paid by workers compensation under normal circumstances. The medical treatment through the authorized doctors includes workers compensation paying for prescriptions, medical appliances, travel expenses, and there is a $500 allowance for you to see physicians of your own selection. The second benefit is wage loss if the authorized doctor has you off work or if your employer sends you home because they cannot accommodate your restrictions from the authorized doctor. Work comp typically pays 2/3 of your wages up to the state maximum while you are unable to work, up until the time you reach maximum medical improvement. The first seven days you miss are not covered unless you are off work 21 days or more. Finally workers compensation provides three types of settlements if you have a permanent injury. See the workers compensation section of this website for further information.
The claim against the negligent company or company employee (other than your employer or coworker) consists of all your damages. You are allowed to recover for past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, noneconomic losses, past and future, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, loss of time, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and loss of spousal services, and any other economic loss you have incurred.
If you are injured at a construction site, it is very important to pay close attention to the details and contact us right away for help. Over the years and many construction related accidents later, we have noticed one consistent theme which is that witnesses from the company at fault for causing the accident tend to have a significantly different version of how the accident occurred. This is particularly true when one of their co-workers caused the accident and they don’t want their co-worker to get in trouble with the employer. As such, you will want to write down any witnesses and be very specific about how the accident occurred if filling out any accident report forms.
Our office is experienced at handling both workers compensation cases and the third party liability cases against the negligent party. We have handled these types of cases for years of all sizes and types. We recently settled a construction accident case for $670,000. It is important to allow a complete investigation by your attorney to assist proving your case and it is more important not to provide a tape recorded statement to the insurance companies as these statements could easily hurt your case.