Can A Contractor Or Subcontractor Sue Me When I Come To Work With Coronavirus?

Over the last several months, we’ve received a large number of inquiries from construction workers, subcontractors, and contractors who are worried about the possibility of civil litigation if it is determined that they were patient zero after a workplace outbreak. While we understand these concerns, it is important to understand that the liabilities of an employee or other individual at a workplace are complex — and much of someone’s ability to sue another person depends entirely on the situation, each of which is likely unique.

What does that mean? For the most part, it means don’t worry too much. Take necessary precautions that we know limit the spread of coronavirus. Wash hands often, avoid close contact with coworkers, wear a mask, etc. Taking these basic steps can greatly reduce the opportunity for someone else to sue you for negligence — because you can easily prove that you were doing your best to stay safe and healthy.

For an individual to have any shot at a lawsuit, they need a qualified work accident lawyer who can prove that someone’s negligence led to a specific outbreak. This is extremely difficult. Truth be told, the onus is mostly on the contractor, boss, or whoever else is in charge at a specific construction site. 

For example, if an employer were to ask or require you to remove your mask while you work, then they are absolutely liable for any health-related consequences of a workplace outbreak. That’s because we know that the science says wearing masks helps greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

For the moment, other workplace hazards are still far more dangerous for the average construction workers. These include physical injuries like lacerations, burns, broken bones, head, neck, and back injuries, and even the loss of a limb. However, heart attack and stroke are common at construction sites when an employee is over the age of 55 — and we know that coronavirus and the resulting disease COVID-19 are far more dangerous when an underlying condition like heart disease is already present.

That means you should also visit your healthcare provider to discuss the risks of coronavirus at your workplace, how you can mitigate those risks, and exactly what you should do if you suspect you might be sick. 

One thing is for sure: this is not the time to go to work while sick. Doing so can mean legal action later, justified or not, and can also put others at risk. It’s not worth the risk!

The CDC recommends that construction workers take the same basic precautions as anyone else when at work during the pandemic. If you feel symptomatic at work, notify your supervisor immediately. Go home and do not return to the workplace until a healthcare provider can clear you to work again depending on state and local procedures. 

Do not share tools unless absolutely necessary, and attempt to disinfect those tools on a routine basis. Your supervisor should already have outlined procedures for making sure that shared items are kept clean. Employees should also make themselves aware of the CDC’s guidance regulations for employers.

Most Common Construction Zone Workplace Accidents

One of the most dangerous occupations that you can be in is the construction industry. It is a profession that can lead to many potential accidents. Although OSHA does its best to enforce safety and health regulations, there is no way that they can control what will occur. Many accidents are the result of negligence on the part of the owner of the company in charge of the construction project, whereas other incidents are simply part of the job. Things can happen that can lead to both small and large injuries, and even death, because of how dangerous the construction industry is.

What Are Common Causes Of Construction Accidents

Some of the most common accidents include falling from heights as a result of being on a scaffolding, a roof, or even a ladder. You can also be struck by objects that are being propelled, or that are falling from a greater height than the worker is currently at. It is possible to get stuck between materials or objects, and electrocution is also a possibility. Slip and fall accidents are also common, especially when working in conditions where precipitation is occurring. Collapsing excavation walls, and being injured with power tools are all potential reasons that construction workers can be injured.

How Can A Construction Worker Get Compensation For These Accidents?

Compensation can come in many forms. For example, if a worker has been injured, they typically file a Workmen’s Comp claim, allowing them to recover from their injuries and have all of their medical expenses paid. They will also be provided with money while they are unable to work, and this can be very expensive for a business. Sometimes employers will find a way to remove employees that are consistently getting injured. It is also possible that the injuries could be significant, causing permanent damage, forcing the employee to file a lawsuit for what has happened.

It is possible for construction workers to receive very large settlements for injuries they have sustained while working at a construction site. These cases are actually very easy to win if it can be shown that the employer was using unsafe strategies that led to the incident that caused the injury. Negligence of safety rules, or forgetting to do safety inspections, can also be in the favor of the injured construction worker. By contacting an attorney that works specifically with construction workers, it is possible that they may be able to get some type of compensation for the injuries they have sustained.