Oftentimes, insurance companies will try to protect themselves from liabilty when a worker is injured. However, one judge has just made the job of a philadelphia construction accident attorney that much harder because she set a precedent that allows insurers to easily opt out of covering contractors and subcontractors.
The incident stems from an injury incurred by a carpenter who fell from a scaffold wile working on a construction site in Philadelphia. He was an employee of a subcontractor which was not a party to the immediate case. The insurer brought a case against the carpenter, the primary company he was working for as a subcontractor, the property owner of the site and a few other relevant parties. The injured construction worker stated that the insurance company knew or should have known that the site was dangerous. The insurace company states that it had no duty to indemnify the construction company because in its contract, it stated it did not cover contractors or subcontractors. The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge agreed that the insurance company does not have to indemnify the construction company for those exact reasons.
This all sounds like its just construction injury lawyers all trying to fight it out in court to see who has to end up footing the bill, but it is more important than that. This case sets a precedent that any insurance company can opt out of covering workers for injury claims they otherwise would have expected to be covered for. This means that it will likely be even more difficult for construction workers, many of whom work in contractor or subcontractor capacities, to make claims for injuries. If this practice becomes more widespread, it could make it very tough for workers to be covered unless they have their own personal insurance, which is more likely to be extremely expensive.
Any time a worker is trying to collect workers compensation for an injury, it is a difficult process. Seeking out help is usually the best move.
Source: Pennsylvania Record, “Phila. judge: insurer need not defend and indemnify construction company in workplace injury case,” Jon Campisi, Feb. 21, 2013