What can I Recover in a Construction Accident Case?
After the traumatic and devastating injury that you endured while working in a construction zone , you might soon wonder how and for what you can recover in a lawsuit against the wrongful party. To see just how much Illinois plaintiffs recovered in construction accident cases, click here . That article illustrates how successfully plaintiffs from some of Illinois' largest counties fared in obtaining compensation after their workplace accident. Here, we want to overview and explain the nature of recovery in construction accident lawsuits and it generally comes from a few main classes:
In Illinois construction accident lawsuits, economic damages and compensation is related to the direct harms that the plaintiff has suffered. They are the most tangible form of loss compared to other categories in that they are typically the easiest to identify and calculate. This is so because they reimburse a plaintiff for his or her out-of-pocket expenses. Yet, the actual people that can recover these damages are not only the construction worker. In fact, certain circumstances allow any financially interested party to bring a claim for this compensation if they have been legally wronged including spouses, children, and insurance companies. Take a look at some frequent kinds of economic damages in Illinois construction accident cases:
- Ambulance bills.
- ER treatment.
- Rehab and other long-term care.
- Prescriptions, medical devices, other prescribed measures.
- Psychological care or other necessary consultations.
- Lost wages or missed investment opportunities
- Property damage.
Non-economic damages are a wholly and distinctly different breed of compensation than economic damages in Illinois construction accident cases and, in fact, all other kinds of cases. Sometimes called general damages (economic damages are alternatively called special damages in certain circumstances), non-economic damages aim to reimburse a victim of a construction accident for the way in which an incident substantially changed their life for the worse in an intangible way. It can be thought of as compensation for a reduced quality of life.
If, for example, you cannot do things you used to, your enjoyment or self-esteem has declined, or for other reasons your life quality is lowered, then non-economic damages may be available to you. Take a look at some more concrete reasons of why Illinois plaintiffs receive this kind of damages in construction accident cases:
- Long-term pain and suffering.
- Disfigurement/ scarring .
- Inability to take care of yourself.
- Inability to continue working .
- Inability to have relationships in the same manner that you used to be able to.
- Inability to complete actions you used to be able to complete.
While some jurisdictions have tried to reduce plaintiffs' ability to recover for non-economic damages in construction accident cases, you should still speak with your lawyer to see if you can and by how much you can. This kind of injury can come in a myriad of forms; therefore, it is important to identify how you have been injured in a non-economic manner and then to try and recover for it.
It should not be hard to remember the goal of punitive damages because it looks a lot like what it is supposed to do: punish. In contrast to economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages have no relation to the way in which a plaintiff was harmed, at least in the way in which the court calculates them. Rather, they are designed as punishment for the wrongdoer and are meted out in amounts equal to the defendant's egregiousness.
However, more than just punish, the true nature of punitive damages lies in the hope that similar conduct will not take place in the future because of this punishment. In other words, they are given out to deter others from acting the same way. In the construction accident context, here are some situations that might warrant punitive damages (the key is to find a high degree of recklessness, wantonness, or egregiousness):
- Company uses materials it knows are dangerous to its employees to save money.
- The company fails to update or maintain its equipment to such an extent that it knows those who use it are in danger.
- The company allows its employees to operate equipment or drive vehicles while intoxicated .
- The company does not follow the law when erecting scaffolding or working on a building and employees fall as a result.
Just like with non-economic compensation, state legislatures and courts have made attempts to reduce a worker's right to receive punitive damages in construction accident cases; therefore, check with your lawyer if they will be available to you.
Wrongful Death Damages
This is clearly the most unfortunate category of damages for construction accident cases. Nobody wants to have to seek them but they are frequently forced to when someone they loved as died. They are meant to in some degree fill the void that the passing of a spouse, relative, or significant other has caused them. The legal system accepts this as a tangible and recognizable injury and allows for compensation in these circumstances. Generally, those that seek wrongful death damages and compensation in Illinois construction accident cases are spouses or close relatives. However, this does not mean that others are permanently and definitely barred from seeking such recovery, as courts will look at this on a case-by-case basis. Here are some situations why plaintiffs seek wrongful death damages in Illinois construction accident cases:
- Lost wages/income due to the decedent's death.
- Lost companionship due to the decedent's death.
- Lost support due to the decedent's death.
Workers' compensation is most closely analogous to insurance. It provides compensation for lost wages, benefits, health care, and other items to workers if they have been injured on the job. The catch is that in many instances you must forfeit your right to sue your employer if you accept workers' compensation for your construction accident. However, the process of workers' compensation is often "no-fault" meaning that workers do not have to prove it was someone else' fault or that it was not their own fault; therefore, this can be an easier route to compensation than litigation in certain instances. It is very important that you discuss with your attorney the differences and opportunities that both litigation and workers' compensation afford you.
Figuring Out Which Damages Will Apply To You
Not every form of compensation or damages will apply to your construction accident. Thus, at the beginning, you should look at the particulars of your incident with an attorney to identify to understand which will apply. Here are some reminders to think about when you are completing this process.
1. Did the defendants act particularly egregiously? If they did, you might be able to sue and recover for punitive damages.
2. Did the incident take place during the course of employment? If it did, then you might need to file for workers' compensation instead of filing a lawsuit for damages.
3. Did the construction accident change your life negatively in intangible ways including scarring, disability, or pain and suffering? If it did, then you might be able to sue for non-economic damages.
4. Did someone you love die in the construction accident? If so, then you could possibly sue for wrongful death damages in Illinois.
Recovering In Illinois Courts For Construction Accidents
Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of the kind of compensation you can obtain for your construction accident in Illinois, whether it is through a lawsuit or workers' compensation. Yet, all cases are different so carefully review the facts and circumstances of your own incident to determine which route will be the best for you.
Thinking About What You Could Get In An Illinois Construction Accident Case?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC focuses on helping personal injury victims in Illinois including those that have suffered construction accidents. We see the significant consequences that they impose on the people that they affect. That is why we represent them on contingency-so that they don't have to worry about a nickel of charges until they get the recovery that they need and deserve. Call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today to learn about how we can begin setting the wheels in motion for your compensation.
For additional information see the following pages:
- Are There Time Limits on Construction Accident Cases?
- What Are Common Construction Accident Injuries?
- What Are Construction Accident Laws?
- What Are Construction Accident Statistics?
- What Have Other Construction Accident Plaintiffs Recovered in Court?