Workers' compensation benefits are limited compared to the damages available in some personal injury lawsuits. California has a high cost of living, and these benefits are so limited that they may not allow a once-productive construction worker to live comfortably by relying on workers’ compensation alone, even when an accident happened through no fault of the worker. After a construction accident, you can consult the Los Angeles work injury attorneys at Sharifi Firm for assistance with bringing a lawsuit against a responsible party to seek the full scope of your damages.Establishing Liability for Construction Accidents
Generally, employees may not sue their employer even if the employer was partially or fully responsible for causing an accident. The employees' remedy against an employer is filing for workers' compensation benefits. However, if a construction accident was partially or fully caused by someone other than the employer, the worker may be able to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against that individual or entity.
The advantage of a personal injury lawsuit is the ability to recover greater compensation, including noneconomic damages, such as loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. The third party may be another subcontractor or a product manufacturer. In most cases, a plaintiff will sue the third party on a theory of negligence. That is, he or she will have to prove that the third party owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and actually and proximately caused the accident, as well as that actual damages were sustained. For example, if a subcontractor electrician leaves a dangerous wire in a common area, resulting in electrocution injuries to a tile subcontractor, the electrician may be liable for negligence.
In some cases, a third party may be strictly liable. For example, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit if safety equipment does not work as expected, and you are injured as a result. To establish strict liability, you will need to prove the existence of a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect as well as causation.
In some cases, multiple parties are at fault for a construction accident. The negligent conduct of several subcontractors, for example, can combine to produce a serious fall from great heights, necessitating months of medical care or causing a permanent disability. Often, it is necessary to bring a lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties and conduct discovery in order to figure out which ones are actually responsible. California follows a modified version of joint and several liability. Under a pure form of joint and several liability, a plaintiff can potentially recover his or her full damages from a defendant, even if the defendant is only partially or nominally responsible for an accident.
In California, multiple defendants may be held jointly and severally liable for economic damages. This means you can hold a single insured defendant who is at fault 100% responsible for your medical bills and lost income, even if that defendant is only 20% at fault. However, each defendant is only responsible for a proportion of the noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium, that is equal to that defendant’s proportion of fault.Contact a Los Angeles Attorney for Your Work Injury Claim
Construction accidents can be challenging because there are usually multiple entities at the site that could have been responsible for a dangerous condition. Construction sites are often very dangerous places. Moreover, a construction site is always changing, which makes it difficult to secure evidence. It is important to retain an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer without delay. At Sharifi Firm, our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys also represent victims in San Bernardino, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Riverside, and Temecula, among other Southern California cities. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.