When we drive down a highway in South Carolina, we often see signs warning us to drive within the speed limit and watch out for highway workers, especially at night. These signs often contain warnings such as “Slow down, my mommy works here,” and other similar statements, and there is good reason. Working on the side of a highway is one of the most dangerous occupations in the nation.
According to a recent feature from Construction Equipment Guide, a builder’s association has just awarded college scholarships to 10 children who suffered the tragic loss of a parent who died or was permanently disabled while on the job. All of these employees were killed during their shifts as highway and roadside workers.
One of these award recipients suffered the loss of her father while he was working for the South Carolina Department of Transportation. He was removing traffic signs from a construction site along Interstate 26 in Lexington County, when he was struck and killed by another vehicle. His daughter plans to attend Clemson University and major in architecture.
This particular charity was established in 1999 and began with a gift from two highway construction firms. Since the organization has been in existence, over 100 children have been awarded scholarships to help them attend college. All recipients shared an equally tragic loss of a parent or had a parent who suffered a serious disability.
As the organization noted in a press release, over 100 highway workers are killed each year while working along side a road or highway, and thousands more suffer serious personal injury — many of them end with permanent disabilities.
One of the differences in cases involving death or injury involving highway workers is that their deaths are often due to being struck by a third-party motorist. The motorist is considered a third party if he or she was not employed by victim’s employer, with the first two parties being employee and employer. What makes this different, as our Rock Hill, South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits attorneys can explain, is that when a typical on-the-job injury occurs, employee is not required to prove negligence on behalf of employer, and employee is precluded from filing a personal injury lawsuit if he or she is eligible to file for workers’ compensation. This is known as the exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation law.
In an accident caused by a negligent act or omission of a third party, employee can collect workers’ compensation and then file a personal injury lawsuit against at-fault party. A workers’ compensation award is designed to compensate an employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness, but compensation is only provided for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages. There is no provision under the workers’ compensation system to provide for compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages exclusive to personal injury cases. However, if an injured employee recovers both workers’ compensation and a personal injury settlement or verdict, it may be necessary to reimburse employer for any workers’ compensation benefits already paid.
If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Fallen Highway Workers’ Children Earn ARTBA Scholarship, April 23, 2015, Construction Equipmen uide
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