Frequent questions

Question: I fell from a ladder and injured myself while working construction. Can I recover more than worker’s compensation?

Answer: If you were working for a subcontractor on a larger project, it may be possible to recover money from the general contractor’s insurance. There is a law in Washington that makes the general contractor responsible for the safety of all workers on the construction site, not just those employed by the general contractor. If the general contractor had reason to know that workers on the jobsite were not working safely with ladders, then the general contractor could be responsible for compensating you for your injuries.

If there was no general contractor involved in the job and you were hurt while working for your employer, it may be difficult to recover money, because Washington law does not allow a worker to sue his employer directly.

If you are in this situation, it is worth speaking to a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to recover money from the general contractor or someone else besides your employer.

Question: I entered the USA by secretly crossing the border. I am now married to an American citizen and have two children. Can I obtain a green card?

Answer: Persons who entered the country illegally since 1997 may be barred from entering the U.S. illegally, or adjusting their status from illegally present to lawful immigrant. There is a waiver procedure for persons who can prove “extreme hardship” to their spouse or other U.S. Citizens if they are forced to leave the country. I would recommend that you consult with a lawyer immediately to determine if you qualify for an “extreme hardship” waiver.

Question: I recently installed drywall at a new construction project for a school. I was paid the usual $20 an hour. Someone told me that I should have been paid more, because it was a government project. How much should I have been paid?

Answer: Workers in Washington State who work on government jobs are entitled to be paid the “prevailing wage.” The prevailing wage is a wage rate that is set by the state of Washington and is often twice or more the market rate. Right now, the rate for drywallers working on commercial projects is $50 an hour. Also, overtime is paid for each hour over 8 hours that a worker works in a day. If you believe that you have not been paid the prevailing wages due to you on a government job, please contact a lawyer immediately.