Warmer weather is here, which means two things for our local roads and highways here in the Lancaster area: There will be more construction crews and drivers – locals and people just passing through Pennsylvania – out there.
If you work on a road construction crew – setting up cones, fixing potholes, shoveling pavement, directing traffic, etc. – you are no doubt on the lookout for oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, the drivers out there do not always do the same. There is little to protect road workers from negligent drivers, meaning when a collision happens, their injuries are often quite serious. What you may not know is that you may be able to recover additional compensation for your injuries beyond your workers’ compensation benefits.
What is a third-party lawsuit?
In Pennsylvania, workers who are hurt on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that can help cover the cost of medical care and lost wages after you are hurt on the job. Your employer does not have to be directly responsible for your injuries; if you are hurt while in the course of performing your job, you qualify.
If a negligent driver hits you while you are working road construction, since that driver is not a part of your company, you could also file a personal injury lawsuit against that driver for additional damages. This is a third-party liability claim, because the driver was an outside party who hurt you while you were on the job.
Get the compensation you deserve
Under Pennsylvania law, you cannot recover pain and suffering compensation from your employer, and your workers’ comp. benefits will likely not cover 100 percent of your lost wages. That is why you can file the third-party claim against the negligent driver. If you are seriously hurt, that extra compensation can mean all the difference in your recovery and your family’s ability to make ends meet.
What to look out for
As the summer driving season kicks into high gear, it’s important to be on the lookout for negligent and reckless driving. The speed zone will likely be reduced in your work zone, but not all drivers obey the signs. Additionally, many also wait too long to change lanes and drive too close to workers. Even if traffic is moving slowly in your work zone, distracted driving still puts workers like you at risk as well.
Work with a lawyer who understands personal injury and workers’ comp.
While you can certainly work with two attorneys to pursue each source of compensation, it will be beneficial if you work with one attorney who understands both areas of the law. That way, your lawyer’s singular focus will be on maximizing your compensation in the way that makes sense for you.