Punitive Damages In Construction Site Accident Claims
When it comes to workplaces, there is much agreement that construction sites are without a doubt some of the most dangerous places anyone can work in on a daily basis. With numerous types of heavy-duty equipment being used for various purposes and workers having to perform many tasks while far off the ground, accidents take place at these sites each year. When accidents do occur, the injuries that result are usually very serious and often life-altering.
Whether falling from a beam high above the ground, being severely lacerated or burned, or suffering broken bones and fractures from having an arm or leg crushed by a heavy object, these and other injuries require victims to seek substantial compensation for their injuries, including punitive damages when others are especially negligent in regards to safety. If you have been injured in a construction site accident turn to Gutierrez Law. Our occupational accident attorney offers top-of-the-line representation for victims in these cases.
Workers' Compensation Claims
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 a workers' comp claim 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 extremely negligent or careless, 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 be able to show clear and convincing evidence that a third-party breached their obligation of safety by committing fraud, malice, or oppression. For example, malice will mean the defendant acted with the intent to harm the plaintiff and also had a willful disregard for safety. As for oppression, this refers to ignoring a worker's rights and thus subjecting them to unjust cruelty or hardship. Finally, 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 company liable for punitive damages, plaintiffs and their attorneys can prove to the court that the company's officers, directors, or managing agents acted with malice, oppression, and/or fraud. In addition, it is important to note that these individuals can be found guilty not only if they knew of the various acts beforehand, but also if they approved of the conduct after the fact. In these situations, defendants will almost always claim they had no prior knowledge of any wrongdoing and will attempt to place the blame elsewhere, even on the plaintiff. 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, that 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 an 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 to not 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.