Updated on November 23, 2015
Workers injured at PA construction sites often do not know the full extent of their legal rights. Some do not know that they cannot file a claim against their employers. Others believe that their only remedy is to file a PA workers’ compensation claim. Below is a question about workers’ rights after being injured at a construction site.
Question: My husband was hurt at a PA construction site. He is a sheet metal worker. His boss says that we cannot sue because of workers' compensation. Is this true?
Answer: The answer to this question depends on many different factors. Certainly, you cannot sue your husband's employer due to the immunity provision under the PA Worker's Compensation Act (Act). The law provides that injured workers may receive workers’ compensation benefits, including wage loss and medical benefits if they are injured at work. Workers are eligible for workers’ comp benefits regardless of fault. In other words, if the employee was negligent and caused the work-related injury, he is still able to receive workers’ comp benefits. If the employer was negligent and caused the accident, the employee is still able to receive workers’ comp benefits. However, workers are not able to sue their employers under the Act.
Whether there is any other viable defendant who can and should be sued depends upon how the worksite was set up and whether anyone acted negligently in creating an unsafe condition which led to the accident.
Other viable defendants may not even be present at the construction site, such as an equipment manufacturer. For instance, if your husband was injured while using a power tool and injured his hands, the power tool company may be liable for his injuries. The power tool may have been defective which caused your husband’s injuries. This would be a products liability or dangerous products case against the power tool manufacturer.
The determination as to whether anyone acted negligently and, very importantly, whether that person or company is subject to a civil suit under the Worker's Compensation laws of the relevant state, are very important, often complex questions. For this reason, we encourage individuals injured on construction sites or in industrial settings to contact an experienced attorney early on so that proper investigation can be done in a timely fashion.
If you would like to discuss your work-related accident, call Daniel J. O’Brien, Esq., a PA and NJ personal injury lawyer, to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396