Construction injuries are often very serious. New Jersey workers can suffer spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, amputations and other severe injuries in a construction accident.
Victims and their families will likely need a lot of financial support after a construction injury.
The medical bills in the immediate aftermath of the accident alone can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Likewise, serious injuries can cause a permanent disability, meaning a worker either will no longer be able to earn an income or will have to settle for a much lower salary.
Finally, although it is hard to put an exact dollar amount on a victim’s non-economic losses like emotional distress and pain, victims also deserve compensation for these very real damages.
Workers’ compensation can help
For employees who suffer an injury at a construction site, the New Jersey workers’ compensation system may afford some financial support.
Workers’ compensation pays for medical bills and can cover much of a victim’s lost income until he or she returns to work. Permanent benefits are also available to those who suffer from a debilitating injury.
The good news is that workers’ compensation is awarded on a no-fault basis in New Jersey. This does not mean that every person who applies for benefits gets them, but it does mean that employees do not have to prove that an employer was negligent before collecting work comp benefits.
The tradeoff is that employees are ordinarily not allowed to sue their employers for work-related injuries, even if the employer bears some legal responsibility.
Workers’ compensation does not cover everything
This tradeoff does not always work to an employee’s advantage. Workers’ compensation does not pay for non-economic losses, and it may not even pay for all out-of-pocket costs either.
Fortunately, in many circumstances, an injured may be able to sue other at-fault parties besides his or her employer through what is called a third party liability action.
For example, a careful investigation may reveal that the property owner, the general contractor or another subcontractor violated regulations that were designed to protect workers. A third party negligence case may help a victim receive additional compensation that he or she requires.