Bryant University in little Rhode Island made national news this week for some horrible and unfortunate reasoning. The news reported that a new construction at Bryant intended for athletics collapsed and fell mid construction.
At least six workers, some of whom were from out of state, were injured in the collapse. The severity of the injuries vary, though, fortunately no one was killed in this accident. A few of the workers remain in the hospital at this time recovering. The cause of the collapse was not immediately known and OSHA has indicated that a full report on the cause of the collapse could take months.
These workers, or others injured in a construction site accident, are entitled to workers compensation at a minimum. This will cover medical bills and lost wages while they are unable to work. Workers Compensation may also allow for a small settlement amount, but workers comp does not cover pain and suffering such as is available in a personal injury claim.
The law is clear that an employee can not sue his/her employer for injury. The workers compensation system is intended to protect injured workers hurt while working on behalf of their employers. On construction sites, however, there are potentially dozens of different companies (or subcontractors).
Depending on who is at fault or who contributed to a workplace accident, an injured construction worker may still be able to bring a personal injury claim against one of the OTHER employers or companies. This will allow for much greater financial compensation including pain and suffering.
For instance, early reports have suggested that a crane operator for the steel company is at fault for this accident. Any of these injured workers who do NOT work for the steel company (i.e. they are employed by the general contractor or a plumbing company, etc.) can bring a personal injury claim against the steel company.
(I am not familiar with the investigation into negligence and I am only citing what I have read on turnto10.com.) The investigation into negligence on an incident like this could take quite some time (As OSHA has indicated) and an experienced construction accident attorney will need to dig deep and find out who caused the incident and for whom do they work.
If you have been involved in a construction site accident, contact our office for a free initial consultation. Understand your rights, the differences between workers compensation and personal injury claims, and what you are truly entitled to in compensation.