Construction can be a dangerous line of work. You’re dealing with heavy equipment, cutting equipment, or equipment that shoots nails. You’re moving around heavy pieces of lumber, steel, or rock. You may be working high off the ground on a multi-story building. Risks are everywhere, which is one reason why construction workers are required to wear helmets and take safety precautions. Construction sites are subject not only to state safety rules, but federal Occupational and Safety Hazard Act (OSHA) rules.
No matter how many precautions you take while doing your job, accidents sometimes happen and people get hurt. When someone is hurt in a construction site accident the injuries can be very serious. And because construction is very physical work, injuries can lead to an inability to perform the job and loss of the injured worker’s livelihood.
If you’ve been injured while working at a construction site, you may be able to make a workers compensation claim. The Illinois workers compensation system provides a no-fault mechanism for injured workers to get their medical care covered, as well as payment of disability benefits if you can’t work or have to switch to light duty, and vocational rehabilitation if you’re no longer able to do your former job and need training to do something else.
You may be uncertain how to go about filing a claim, or you may have made a claim with your employer or your employer’s workers comp insurance company and are being denied. In either event, a skilled workers compensation attorney can help. A lawyer can assist you in putting together the documentation you need to support your claim, negotiating a settlement, or representing you in a formal claim through the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. With an experienced lawyer at your side, you have a better chance at getting the compensation you deserve following your work-related injury.
Common Construction Site Accidents
There are a number of ways that a construction worker can get hurt on the job. Hazards are plentiful, but some of the common ways that construction site employees may get hurt include:
- Chemical leaks or spills
- Heavy equipment accidents
- Being struck by objects
Employees vs. Contractors
It’s a requirement of the Workers Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305, that you have an employment relationship at the time of your accident in order to be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Establishing an employment relationship can be tricky for construction sites, where there often are layers of contractors and subcontractors working on a project. It’s important to identify exactly who your employer was so that your claim is made to the right person, company, or insurance policy.
If you were an independent contractor, your claim might be denied because you wouldn’t meet the legal criteria for eligibility. However, whether you were an independent contractor or an employee isn’t always clear-cut. Even if the person who hired you called you an independent contractor, if that person had enough control over your job there may be a case that you really were an employee and might be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
If you’re uncertain what your legal employment status was at the time of your accident, a Chicago workers comp attorney can help you determine whether you might be eligible for compensation related to your injury.