Punitive Damages In Construction Site Accident Claims

Workers' Compensation Claims 

Construction sites are undoubtedly one of the most dangerous places anyone can work in on a daily basis. Between lifting heavy-duty equipment to performing various tasks above ground, workers are susceptible to getting hurt. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 200,000 non-fatal and 1,000 fatal injuries that have altered the lives of victims and their families.

Workers' compensation can certainly help the financial burden the accident has caused you. But it might not be enough if you've fallen from a high beam, been severely burned, or suffered from having an arm or leg crushed by a heavy object. Our occupational accident attorney at Gutierrez Law offers top-of-the-line representation for injured victims who intend to pursue additional compensation and punitive damages against third-party organizations and co-workers.

When construction workers are injured on the job, they generally file a workers' compensation claim, since employers for the most part cannot be sued in these situations. While workers' comp will pay for medical expenses and provide a limited amount of disability income, it will not cover punitive damages. Therefore, to receive punitive damages, the injured worker must be able to prove a third party was negligent, thus putting workers at unnecessary risk of injury.

Clear and Convincing Evidence

To successfully sue for punitive damages, an injured construction worker and their attorney must provide clear and convincing evidence demonstrating that a third party breached their obligation of safety by committing fraud, malice, or oppression.

  • Malice means the defendant acted with the intent to harm the plaintiff and also had a willful disregard for safety.
  • Oppression refers to ignoring a worker's rights and thus subjecting them to unjust cruelty or hardship.
  • Fraud is committed when the defendant intentionally conceals facts or lies about certain facts, resulting in injuries to the plaintiff.

It will be vital that you hire a construction injury lawyer in Los Angeles. While these may on the surface sound easy to prove, they often are not.

How Companies Can be Found Liable

To find a construction company liable for punitive damages, plaintiffs should have evidence that management neglected their responsibilities or failed to exercise a duty of care to employers. We'll investigate several factors, including whether the defendants knew of the various acts beforehand and if they approved of the conduct after the fact. In these situations, negligent co-workers or management will almost always claim they had no prior knowledge of any wrongdoing and will attempt to place the blame elsewhere, even on you. When this happens, it will be crucial for a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles to have as much evidence as possible to back up your claim.

Burden of Proof

In these cases, the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff. Therefore, you must always be able to prove two things to gain the punitive damages you seek.

  • First, that the third party's negligence caused the accident that led to your injuries
  • Second, the level of malice, fraud, or oppression from the defendant was so heinous that it justifies the awarding of punitive damages to deter others from acting in a similar manner

Contacting an Attorney

When you are injured in a construction accident, always consult with a workplace injury lawyer. By being able to work with a legal professional who specializes in these cases, you can discuss the details of your accident and get an objective opinion as to how you should proceed. When accidents happen, those responsible do everything possible not to accept blame for their negligence or carelessness. Rather than let others not be held accountable for their actions, hire a lawyer that will fight hard to see that justice is served each step of the way.