Construction workers face many hazards each day when they punch the clock. From human error to dangerous conditions and defective equipment, they put their health and well-being at risk simply going to work. Sadly, when everyone takes the right care and caution for the situation they can make many construction accidents easily preventable.
Even with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and state statutes requiring specific safety measures in the workplace, construction accidents continue to cause extremely serious injuries at an alarmingly high rate. If you suffered an injury in a construction accident, don’t wait to reach out to an experienced construction accident attorney. You may seek reimbursement for your losses under state laws through a third-party claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
What Happens if a Construction Worker Gets Hurt on the Job?
If you get hurt on the job, what happens may be largely up to you. It’s up to you to ensure you seek medical care and get the proper treatment, including any follow-up treatment and recommended therapies.
It’s also up to you to explore your options for compensation, such as through workers’ compensation and a third-party liability claim. The best way to take care of the latter is to contact a construction attorney who can help you protect and exercise your rights so you can maximize your compensation.
Steps to Take After a Construction Accident
A construction accident can be quite shocking, taking you by surprise. What you do after your accident can significantly impact your physical and financial recovery. First, get medical attention. Until your health stabilizes, nothing else should matter. Once you receive the initial medical care you need, it’s time to contact a skilled construction lawyer.
Even if you sustained your injury while at work, it’s unlikely that your workers’ comp coverage will cover the full extent of your injuries, and it will not provide compensation for pain and suffering. It’s always best to have legal help to see what other options you might have for additional compensation.
If you don’t have workers’ comp coverage, weren’t working when the accident occurred, or a third party is responsible for your injuries, you will need an attorney on your side who can file a personal injury claim and stand up for your interests.
If your accident happened at work, you will need to complete an accident report according to the policy and procedures set forth by your employer. Pay attention, as many employers limit the amount of time you have to complete or file the report. Waiting too long can jeopardize your chances of financial assistance for your injury hardship. If nothing else, and depending on your medical status, let your supervisor know as soon as possible about your injury.
Be sure to keep meticulous records of your pain and suffering, your inability to do things for yourself or participate in activities you once enjoyed, and any plans you have had to cancel. You should also keep track of your related expenses, such as travel to and from medical appointments, prescriptions, or medical equipment purchases or rentals. These records will help you seek reimbursement for the full extent of your damages.
Follow all of the advice and recommendations of your doctors and healthcare team. If you don’t, an insurer can deny your workers’ compensation benefits, and it can be harder to win a personal injury claim. In addition, you should also follow the legal advice of your attorney so that you can protect and get the most from any claims you file.
Types of Construction Accidents that Attorneys Can Help With
Whether your accident was small and seemed insignificant compared to others or was substantial, causing the loss of life or limb, construction accident lawyers have the knowledge and experience to work toward justice for you and those you love.
They help clients who have suffered many different types of injuries from construction accidents, such as:
- Smoke inhalation
- Equipment malfunctions and defects
- Falls from ladders, scaffolding, and roofs
- Slip and falls
- Falls into holes lacking appropriate guarding or barricades
- Exposure to harmful substances, such as environmental toxins
- Falling objects
- Dangerous or unguarded equipment
Common construction workplace injuries include traumatic brain injury (TBI), shockwave injuries, paralysis, internal injuries and bleeding, broken bones, and electrical, chemical, and thermal burns.
Generally, any type of accident that occurs while you are working is eligible for compensation through workers’ compensation insurance.
If your injuries occurred because of the negligence of another party or you were not working at the time, you have the legal right to file a third party liability lawsuit against those liable. Construction accident attorneys can help you take both of these actions to pursue the compensation that is rightfully yours.
What Causes Construction Accidents to Occur?
Construction accidents can happen in a variety of settings and for a variety of reasons. Although they are referred to as accidents, construction accidents are rarely genuine accidents. In most cases, they occur because of the negligence of another employee, the employer, or an equipment manufacturer.
These accidents can happen due to:
- Violations of safety procedures, policies, or protocols
- Lack of safety training or equipment
- Human error
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Poorly maintained pipelines
- Unsuitable handling of flammable, combustible, or toxic materials
- Defective equipment or machinery
- Improper protection for equipment or machinery
- Inadequate lighting or ventilation
- Inadequate safety devices
- Lack of concentration due to monotonous tasks
- Inadequate supervision
- Failure to keep the workspace clean and clear of debris and obstructions
- Working too quickly
- Using unsafe positions
- Horseplay or distracting behavior
When you hire a lawyer, they will review the circumstances of your accident and injuries to determine how they may have occurred and who is possibly liable. In some cases, there may be more than one liable party. Your attorneys can ensure that they file claims against all responsible parties on your behalf.
Proving Your Construction Accident Claim
If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you must be ready to show that your injury occurred at work while you were performing your duties. To help support this, you will need an accident report that includes witness statements from your coworkers or other people who saw the accident. This evidence should be all you need to receive the benefits you deserve.
If you pursue ongoing disability benefits, you should also be prepared to give proof of the extent of your injuries and the severity of your impairment.
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking reimbursement for your injuries, your construction accident attorney can build your case to help prove that you deserve compensation for your financial and other losses.
In general, your attorney must show that:
- Another party owed you a duty of care
- They breached that duty of care
- Your injuries were a direct result of that breach
- You suffered harm and losses resulting from your injuries
Evidence used by your construction accident lawyers to prove these elements might include testimony from accident witnesses, industry experts, including specialists in construction accidents and workplace safety regulations, as well as medical doctors. They will also use your medical records, bills, receipts, and any photos or videos of your accident or injuries that can help establish your claim.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Compensation
Suppose you weren’t working when your construction accident occurred, or a third party caused your injuries. In that case, a construction accident attorney can assist you in filing a personal injury lawsuit. Such a claim allows you to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
Damages represent the losses and hardships you suffer due to your injuries.
Damages you can claim in a construction accident lawsuit include both economic and non-economic ones, such as:
- Past and future medical bills
- Loss of earning capacity
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of the function of a limb or other bodily function
Damages aren’t the same in every case; therefore, you should talk with your lawyer about which ones you might claim. In addition, your attorney can maximize the amount you receive by naming each possible liable party as a defendant in your lawsuit.
Who Can File a Lawsuit for Construction Accident Injuries?
An injured individual not employed by the construction company or another company liable for their injuries can file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an experienced construction accident lawyer. However, it can become more complicated if the victim is an employee.
If this is the case, the employee should file a workers’ compensation claim. If the insurance company denies your claim or does not approve it for the amount that it should be, an attorney can help you.
Otherwise, filing a workers’ compensation claim means you are accessing those benefits instead of filing a legal claim. However, it is critical that you know about the potential to seek compensation from a third party. The third party isn’t you or your employer but someone else who can be liable for your injuries. Because they are a third party, you are allowed to file a lawsuit against them.
Third parties who might have liability for your injuries and damages include but aren’t limited to:
- Manufacturers of tools and machinery
Workers’ compensation doesn’t provide benefits to non-workers who suffered injuries on or near construction sites. With the help of a skilled attorney, non-employees can sue the construction company or other parties involved in their accident.
If you think you might have a claim or just want someone to review it to find out, don’t hesitate to speak to a construction accident lawyer. If you do not act regarding your injuries, you might be walking away from the money you deserve for them.
The Statute of Limitations
State laws only allow injured individuals a limited time to file a personal injury claim. In some states, this limit, known as the is as little as one year from the date of the injury, and in some states, it can be four or more. Another reason for using an attorney’s services is to ensure that you meet all deadlines, including the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations can pause in certain types of cases, such as those involving children under the age of 18. In cases against the government, a shorter statute of limitations may apply—possibly as little as six months to one year.
You can still file if you miss the legal filing deadline for your construction accident case. However, the party you file the claim against will motion the court to dismiss the case based on the expired statute of limitations. The court will have no choice but to grant their motion.
Seek Help from Experienced Construction Accident Attorneys Today
Today, construction workers have protections under laws and regulations that drastically decrease the danger they experience while on the job. Unfortunately, sometimes the corporations that count on construction workers for profit don’t always faithfully adhere to these regulations and laws. As a result, neglectful companies continue to place workers at unnecessary and unlawful risks every single day.
To make matters worse, negligent equipment manufacturers and other parties working on construction sites can also increase the risk to construction workers. In the end, the employees are the ones left dealing with their pain, injuries, and subsequent lost wages and medical bills.
Whether you need to file a claim for workers’ compensation after a work-related construction accident or a personal injury lawsuit for injuries you received as a result of third-party negligence or sustained while not in an employment capacity, seek legal assistance as soon as you can. Your accident attorney will go to work to examine and identify all of the critical details of your case, allowing them to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
When it comes to injuries from construction accidents, you don’t have to face this battle alone. The right San Antonio personal injury law firm can help you recover the compensation you deserve.