Construction workers are constantly reminded that their line of work is dangerous. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) releases a list of workplace accidents each year, and construction accidents frequently are at the top of that list in frequency and severity. Posters throughout a construction site also warn of the many dangers there and what to do to avoid them.
With construction work being inherently dangerous, it is important for construction workers to know if they will be covered in the event of a workplace injury. Are you a construction worker? Do you know if you have workers’ compensation?
Factors That Determine Workers’ Comp
Not every construction worker has workers’ compensation through the scope of their employment. As each state has different ways of legally defining who must be provided workers’ compensation from their employer, a construction worker in one state might have coverage while a worker doing the same job in the next state does not.
Workers’ compensation is also not required to be given to independent contractors in practically every employment situation. Construction firms often hire a select few people to be an official employee of the company. Other roles are filled temporarily by contracted workers, i.e. independent contractors. With this in mind, many construction workers who actually perform some of the most dangerous tasks at a construction site are not provided workers’ compensation coverage.
If you are not sure if you have workers’ compensation as a construction worker, then you should speak to your supervisor or a member of Human Relations (HR). Sometimes, construction firms do not want to make it simple for employees to know if they have workers’ compensation, perhaps to discourage them from filing a claim. You may need to get legal assistance from an attorney to get to the bottom of the issue.
What Happens If You Have No Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation will provide an injured worker both medical fees and a portion of their wages while they miss work due to a work-related injury. Liability is not considered, so you can get workers’ comp even if you caused your own accident. In exchange for workers’ compensation coverage, you cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer in pursuit of damages. Many employers willingly purchase workers’ compensation for all staff members on a construction site just for the legal protection from injury lawsuits.
On the other hand, if you do not have workers’ compensation coverage and you are hurt on a construction site, then your only option to pursue compensation might be to file a work accident claim in civil court. You will need to collect evidence of liability as you would any other personal injury claim to bolster your argument. With a convincing claim, you might be offered a fair settlement from the responding insurance provider. More than likely, though, you will need an attorney to represent you in negotiations or court if the case has to go to litigation.At McHargue & Jones, LLC, we represent injured workers throughout Chicago and in all industries, including construction. If you need help filing or fighting for a workers’ compensation claim — or a personal injury claim if you are not covered by a workers’ comp insurance plan — then you should give us a call at (312) 487-2461. We offer free initial consultations to get you started without needing to reach for your wallet first.