During summer, the longer days and warm weather mean busier construction sites. And those construction sites are only as safe as construction companies and supervisors make them.

One of the biggest dangers construction workers encounter is extreme heat, which can cause devastating injuries and illnesses if proper precautions aren’t taken. Overheating can cause workers to become disoriented or faint, which is more dangerous on construction sites than in other professions because construction workers often use heavy equipment or are at risk of falling from a height. Aside from the increased risk of accidents, heat stress can also cause coma or even death when left untreated.

When a construction worker suffers a heat stroke or other heat-related illness, who can be held accountable for the medical expenses and lost income that worker faces?

When the Construction Worker Is an Employee…

Employees typically have access to workers’ compensation benefits after suffering an on-the-job injury or illness. These benefits cover workplace injury-related medical expenses and provide two-thirds of a worker’s income while they recover.

Workers’ compensation benefits are no fault, which means the employee should get benefits regardless of who was responsible for the injury. Unfortunately, workers sometimes get denied the benefits they’re entitled to. If a claim is denied, the worker shouldn’t give up hope. They can file an appeal with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney.

When the Construction Worker Is an Independent Contractor…

Construction workers are often classified by construction companies as independent contractors. That means they aren’t entitled to the same benefits as an employee.

However, just because a worker doesn’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits doesn’t mean they are without options. Other legal claims, including personal injury and third-party liability claims, can be filed to ensure the worker’s lost income and medical expenses are covered.

It’s especially important for an injured independent contractor to work with an experienced workplace injury lawyer because these claims are more complex than workers’ compensation claims. A lawyer can look at the arrangement you have with a construction company and examine the details of your injury to determine who is liable and who you can take legal action against.

Despite their legal complexity, personal injury and third-party liability claims can also result in far more compensation than a standard workers’ comp claim. In other words, it’s worth taking the time to talk to an experienced lawyer about your case.

Should You Take Legal Action After a Workplace Heat Stroke?

If you’re an employee, you should absolutely consider filing a workers’ compensation claim, especially if your injuries or illness require medical treatment and sideline you for more than a week. Your employer likely carries workers’ comp insurance for this exact reason.

If you’re an independent contractor, then it’s worth asking a couple key questions. First, was your injury costly and debilitating? Second, was your injury someone else’s fault? If you answer yes to both questions, then you should consider taking legal action to get compensation to cover your injury-related expenses. As employers are required to make worksites safe for workers, you may have a case if they failed to provide adequate breaks or water, causing you to suffer a heat-related illness.

Let Fieger Law Evaluate Your Case for Free

The Detroit construction accident lawyers at Fieger Law help injured construction workers across the U.S. get the compensation they’re legally entitled to after a construction site injury. Construction workers too often get a raw deal from employers after an injury, but our team knows what it takes to get them results.

Contact Fieger Law today to schedule a free consultation and let us help you explore your legal options.