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Construction Accident LawyerConstruction sites can be a hotbed for serious accidents and injuries. When an accident happens, employers generally cannot be sued. Instead, injured workers have to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation provides for payment of certain losses, including medical bills and disability income.

It does not, however, pay for punitive damages. If a construction worker is able to sue a party other than their employer, they may be able to seek punitive damages.

Construction Accident Claim & Punitive Damages Under California Law

Personal injury claims allow for construction accident victims to recover broader compensation from non-employers than the compensation available in a worker’s comp claim alone. Accident victims are typically entitled to their actual financial losses and compensation for their non-economic damages. Punitive damages are completely different. This type of damage is designed and awarded to serve as a punishment to discourage future bad behaviors.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 3294 defines when punitive damages can be awarded in an injury claim. The relevant law states:

“ (a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.”

This code section further defines oppression, fraud, and malice as:

  • Malice means the defendant’s conduct was intended to harm the plaintiff or the defendant’s conduct was despicable and showed a “willful and conscious” disregard for safety or for the rights of others.
  • Oppression is defined to include “despicable conduct,” which causes a plaintiff to suffer cruel hardship or unjust hardship.  Oppression occurs when the plaintiff’s rights are disregarded.
  • Fraud refers to intentionally concealing material facts or misrepresenting facts the defendant knows to be true, with the intent to cause injury or to deprive the plaintiff of any property or any legal rights.

Under CCP § 3947, companies can be liable to pay punitive damages if it can be proven that any of their officers, directors, or managing agents acted with fraud, oppression or malice. If they knew of the wrongful or malicious conduct, or approved of the conduct after the fact, this can result in punitive damages.

What You Need to Seek Punitive Damaged in a Construction Accident Claim

Construction accident victims need to prove the following in order to seek punitive damages:

  • Prove that  non-employer or a third party negligently caused the accident which resulted in the injuries
  • The third party or non-employer’s malice, oppression, or fraud  justifies the award of punitive damages

Call a Los Angeles Construction Accident Attorney Today!

The legal team at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas is dedicated to helping our injured clients reach the best monetary settlement when they are involved in any type of accidents. Our experienced Los Angeles construction site accident attorneys are available to personally review your case.  Call us at 1-888-848-5048 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation with our legal team today.

Samer Habbas is a California attorney with over 18 years of experience in personal injury law. Throughout his career, he has successfully recovered over $300 million for his clients, solidifying his reputation as a leading advocate in the field.

Samer swiftly gained recognition for his adept negotiation skills and unwavering dedication to his clients. His practice spans a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, dog bites, funeral home abuse, premises liability, and wrongful death.

Samer is known for his compassionate approach and commitment to securing favorable outcomes for his clients. His expertise has earned him the trust and respect of both his clients and his peers within the legal community. He is also deeply invested in giving back to his community. He actively participates in pro bono work and volunteers his time to various charitable organizations. Samer is a champion for those who have been wronged, leveraging his extensive experience and expertise to make a meaningful difference in the lives of his clients and his community.