Many employees work primarily with their own co-workers at their employer’s location, but construction workers are in an environment with fewer controls and conditions. There could be dozens of subcontractors and their employees working on the property at the same time, and the worksite conditions change from moment to moment.
In this environment, if a worker sustains an injury because of another subcontractor’s employee’s carelessness, he or she may be able to file a third-party injury claim as well as a workers’ compensation claim.
The New Hampshire Department of Labor explains that employers have to carry workers’ compensation insurance so that if a worker sustains an injury, the insurance kicks in and covers the cost of medical bills and some of lost wages during recovery. It is a no-fault system, so the worker does not have to prove that someone else’s negligence caused the accident.
When negligence did cause the injury, though, it may be possible to hold the responsible party liable. For example, perhaps a team of builders working on the fourth floor left a hole uncovered and unmarked, and an electrician fell through to the ground floor. The New Hampshire DOL explains that the electrician would file workers’ compensation with her own employer but may file a third-party claim against the subcontractor who employed the team of builders who failed to mark and cover the hole.
Winning that claim will require that the plaintiff show that the builders were responsible for the hole, that they failed in their responsibility and their failure directly led to the plaintiff’s injuries. If the employee wins the lawsuit, the employer may be able to recover the amount of the workers’ compensation payments the employee received out of the lawsuit winnings.