Can a Subcontractor Sue for a Construction Site Injury in Texas?
Construction sites are filled with many injury-inducing hazards. From dangerous tools to powerful equipment, a subcontractor must be very careful to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, accidents have been known to occur on construction sites and workers like subcontractors have been injured. After getting medical treatment, an injured subcontractor’s next step will be to figure out how to get compensation for their injuries.
It is possible for a subcontractor to sue their general contractor after an accident on a construction site in Texas. Because subcontractors and general contractors do not have an employer-employee relationship, a subcontractor is not barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their general contractor after a worksite accident. The only factor that may restrict you are the terms of the contract for work.
If you worked as a subcontractor on a construction site and were injured in a work-related accident, you may have several different legal options depending on your situation. To discuss your case with our experienced Arlington personal injury attorneys, contact The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. Call (817) 476-1797 to set up a legal consultation.
When It Is Appropriate for a Subcontractor to Sue for a Construction Site Injury in Texas
Generally, when workers’ compensation insurance covers an employer, it is the sole legal remedy permitted. According to Texas Labor Code § 480.001(a), workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for employees whose employers have workers’ compensation insurance. This statute prevents employees from suing their employers in a personal lawsuit for damages from a work-related accident. Since subcontractors are not considered employees of general contractors, they are not barred by workers’ compensation from suing. In fact, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be the most viable option you have after a work-related accident.
Your ability to sue will be affected by the nature of the accident. General contractors typically owe a duty of care to subcontractors working on the construction site. The extent of this duty may vary depending on the job being performed by the subcontractor. If a subcontractor is hired to do a particularly dangerous job, the general contractor may owe a greater duty of care. When this duty of care is breached, resulting in an accident, you may be able to sue for your injuries.
For example, if a general contractor hires a subcontractor to work on the roof of a house laying down new roof shingles, the general contractor must make sure the roof is stable and safe to work on. If it turns out the roof was unstable due to water damage the general contractor ignored or overlooked, and the subcontractor falls through the damaged section of the roof, the subcontractor may sue the general contractor.
Schedule a legal consultation with our team of Houston personal injury lawyers and we will help you figure out your legal options.
How Your Contract May Limit Your Lawsuit in Texas
Usually, a subcontractor will be free to sue their general contractor if they fail to provide a safe working environment or otherwise breach their duty of care. However, subcontractors are bound by the terms outlined in their contract to work on the construction site. It is not usually for general contractors to include provisions in contracts regarding dispute resolution in the event of an accident. Your contract may limit your legal options or the damages you may claim.
For example, many contracts contain provisions for alternative dispute resolutions (ADR). ADR is a way to resolve a legal dispute without going to trial. Trials can be very time-consuming and expensive, and ADR is a way to cut down on legal expenses while reaching an agreement. ADR can include mediation and arbitration.
Mediation is like an informal meeting or conference between the parties to reach a settlement agreement. The process often involves attorneys and a neutral party to oversee the discussions. Mediation is not legally binding and you may decide to reject the outcome of the mediation process. Arbitration is similar, but it is legally binding and you must accept the final decision. In either case, your ability to personally sue your general contractor is limited.
In many cases, the contracts between a subcontractor and a general contractor are “standard” and contain provisions that are normal throughout the construction industry. However, that does not mean that you or your general contractor cannot add or remove details from the final contract. If you think your contract may limit your ability to sue, you should call our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers for construction site accidents. We can review your contract and determine the best way to get you compensation for your injuries.
Available Damages in a Lawsuit for an Accident at a Texas Construction Site
Construction sites are very dangerous places and injured subcontractors may be able to sue for a number of different damages. Damages are like any injuries or losses a subcontractor suffered as a result of an accident. Damages may be physical, like your injures and the resulting medical bills. Damages may be non-physical, like pain and suffering.
Common damages claimed after construction site accidents in Texas include, but are not limited to:
- Medical bills,
- Lost income,
- Future lost income if you do not anticipate returning to work due to injuries,
- Permanent impairments or disfigurement,
- Pain and suffering (physical or mental),
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium (for wrongful death).
Precisely what kind of damages you can claim and how much compensation you could receive will depend on the nature of your injuries and damages. The more extensive your injuries are, the more likely you will receive greater compensation. However, damages usually must be the defendant’s fault, so you will have to demonstrate how your general contractor is responsible for your injuries. Call our Dallas personal injury lawyers to discuss your case.
Call Our Texas Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
If you were a subcontractor injured in an accident at a construction site, you might be able to file a personal lawsuit against your general contractor to obtain compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation with our Texas personal injury attorneys or our workers’ compensation attorneys today. Call The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797.