The Legal Options Available to You if You’ve Been Hurt in a Construction Accident in Illinois
As a construction worker in Illinois, workplace injuries are an unfortunate (and all too common) fact of life. When you’ve suffered an injury while working at your construction job, it can be an extraordinarily scary time. You’re hurt and may be looking at an extended absence from work. You have medical bills. You have many concerns, especially if you are a primary or sole income earner for your family. There may be much uncertainty, and one area of uncertainty may relate to insurance companies who are working to deny you compensation. Many workers find themselves facing that struggle. To make sure you are getting the compensation you deserve as a result of your construction job injury, it pays to be sure you have an aggressive and knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney on your side.
As pointed out in the paragraph above, insurers will often go to great lengths to try to escape paying claims or providing defenses in cases advanced by injured workers. Look at one recent case from Central Illinois. The injured man, M.D., was an employee of the elevator/escalator subcontractor working on a construction job at the Bloomington headquarters of a major insurance conglomerate.
According to the injured worker, he was performing tasks on an escalator when he came “into contact with 1,700 pounds of equipment … resulting in serious injury.” He claimed the reason that happened was because “unskilled workers” were allowed “to suddenly approach and engage heavy equipment, unannounced and without any training.” As a result of the substantial harm he suffered in this accident, M.D. sued. In that case, he named both the owner of the property (the insurance conglomerate) and the general contractor on the project.
Even through the subcontractor’s agreement required it to name the general contractor and the property owner as additional insureds under its insurance policy, the subcontractor’s insurer denied coverage after the general contractor tendered the claim to the insurer. This spawned litigation and a ruling from the Appellate Court. That court concluded that the subcontractor’s insurance company had a legal obligation to provide a defense in the dispute because facts indicated that it was possible that the subcontractor’s improper actions or inaction caused M.D.’s injuries.
The importance of third-party litigation to address the harm caused by your construction injury
One important “take-away” from this is that, sometimes, workers’ compensation benefits may not be adequate to meet your needs. Additionally, a workers’ compensation award of benefits may not adequately represent all those responsible for causing your harm. That’s why, even though you often cannot sue your employer for your construction accident injuries, the law does allow injured workers to go to court and seek damages in “third party” actions against other entities. So, if you’re like M.D., and you are injured while employed by a project subcontractor, you may be entitled to go to court against the general contractor and the property owner, in addition to their insurers, to get the compensation you need.
When it comes to taking on the legal challenges associated with your workplace injury, be forewarned that the insurance companies will probably not be “on your side,” as the jingle intones. Be sure you have the legal representation you need to get what you deserve. Talk to the experienced Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys have been helping injured workers for years and are here to help you with your case. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.