San Antonio Construction Accident Lawyers
By their nature, San Antonio construction and building sites aren’t safe for the general public. Construction workers —including builders, contractors, plumbers, painters, and electricians — and subcontractors must follow strict OSHA safety protocols at construction sites. All of that work prepares these buildings for occupancy.
For safety reasons, general and subcontractors must follow strict OSHA safety protocols at construction sites. Even minor safety mistakes can result in devastating falls, electrocutions, and explosions. Recovering compensation following San Antonio construction accidents, especially if you’re now disabled from your career, often involves numerous defendants and insurers.
Why Choose a Wyatt Law Firm Construction Site Accidents Lawyer
Many believe that workers’ compensation is their only option to recover damages after a workplace accident. However, these benefits are usually not enough to cover the expenses you’ll face after a serious injury. Paula Wyatt and her team have recovered millions for injured workers and have the necessary resources to help you pursue compensation that is far greater than what you might receive through workers’ comp.
The experienced San Antonio construction accident lawyers at Wyatt Law Firm might help injured workers recover needed lost wages and medical damages from property insurers. Schedule your free construction injury case analysis with our San Antonio legal team today by calling (210) 340-5550.
Most Common Types of San Antonio Construction Accidents
Construction sites often contain exposed electrical wires, wet building debris, dangerous tools, and uneven flooring.
In addition to falls from elevations, the leading cause of fatal construction site injuries, our San Antonio litigators commonly see the following skilled labor accidents:
- Slipping and tripping — Open building sites nearly always collect rain and groundwater. These waters often form puddles and/or mix with cement and sawdust, creating slick and muddy surfaces. Likewise, smooth wood and metal beams have low coefficients of friction when wet. These conditions, along with loose debris and trash, frequently create dangerous construction sites resulting in falls.
- Elevated falls — Special safety regulations apply to workers performing duties on roofs, ladders, or scaffolding. Many fatal and disabling accidents occur when workers fall from unstable A-frame ladders or slip off unfinished rooftops. These accidents frequently happen when co-workers don’t turn the electricity off, or employers don’t provide legally necessary scaffolding to cut expenses. Some workers even fall through unfinished flooring or unmarked construction site holes.
- Heavy machinery incidents — These serious injuries occur on many construction sites. They often involve heavy equipment drivers backing into and running over workers. They also happen when negligent operators inadvertently crush co-workers between various machines and materials.
- Electrocutions — Most building sites require both temporary and permanent electrical wiring and contain loose wires and open outlets. Numerous parties, including electricians, building owners, and electrical subcontractors, must generally ensure the power is off when appropriate. This gets complicated when some subcontracts need power in one area, but electricians must wire another. Detailed OSHA safety regulations apply to electrical work because construction workers may suffer from fatal electrical shocks and resulting falls.
- Struck-by accidents — Employers must provide workers with certified safety helmets to protect them from falling debris. Even small items, such as nails, may severely injure workers when dropped from great heights. Most construction workers report multiple falling objects during the building process.
- Defective products — The numerous power tools, ladders, safety equipment, heavy machinery, and materials used during builds may malfunction. This could involve operator error and general negligence or product defects. If workers suffer injuries from exploding or malfunctioning products, attorneys might bring product liability claims against manufacturers and distributors.
- Dangerous substances and delayed illnesses — Many construction sites involve restoring or removing old buildings and materials, which frequently contain asbestos and lead paint. San Antonio’s vast historic buildings and areas frequently contain dangerous substances, which may lead to cancers and various illnesses.
Multiple factors contribute to construction accidents, including exposed wires and faulty safety equipment. Injured workers and even passersby may have various legal claims against multiple parties.
Parties Potentially Liable for Construction Accident Damages in San Antonio
Understanding Texas Workers’ Compensation Laws and Employer Liability
Unlike many states, Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers who forgo workers’ comp coverage open themselves to direct employee personal injury lawsuits.
Going without insurance means employees injured by co-worker negligence or employer mistakes can sue their employers for all financial damages arising from an at-work accident. Some small subcontractors forgo expensive workers’ compensation coverage because of the high premiums associated with skilled laborers. However, most construction industry employers carry this coverage.
Covered workers injured on the job cannot sue employers with workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, this insurance covers the employee’s lost wages and medical expenses regardless of fault.
Additional Parties Frequently Responsible for Construction Site Injuries
Workers’ compensation protections only apply to the claimant’s W-2 employer. They do not prevent injured construction workers from suing negligent non-employers such as building owners, general contractors, product manufacturers, and subcontractors. Contracted (1099) skilled workers might also sue for damages. Under vicarious liability principles, employers are liable for their employees’ negligence.
Likewise, building owners must make their premises reasonably safe for workers or face premises liability lawsuits. Because San Antonio construction sites commonly involve independent building owners and multiple subcontractors, injured workers might demand immediate workers’ compensation benefits and sue other negligent parties for additional damages. The knowledgeable construction accident lawyers at the Wyatt Law Firm may help disabled workers obtain critical medical benefits and sue negligent building owners and subcontractors for pain and suffering.
Disabling Injuries Resulting from Building Site & Safety Negligence
Skilled laborers have physically demanding jobs. From spending their days using power tools to lifting heavy materials, most construction site injuries result in short or long-term disabilities. A broken ankle might not prevent professional engineers from certifying blueprints, but it would completely disable painters.
Construction site injuries frequently result in the following unique and serious conditions:
- Open (penetrating) traumatic brain injuries (TBI) — This head trauma generally involves skull fractures and brain penetration. They happen most often after construction site explosions or when metal piping, nails, or wood shards fall from upper levels. Open TBI generally affects one specific area of the brain, such as the memory, personality, optical, or sensory centers.
- Closed traumatic brain injuries — This head injury occurs after jolts or blows to the head, causing internal bruising and concussions. Hardhats may prevent potentially fatal open TBI, but falls and struck-by accidents might still cause serious closed brain trauma.
- Electrical burns — Because electricity travels through the skin and body, these burns can damage organs and cause deep internal injuries. Serious electrocutions may result in external scarring, internal organ failure, and even fatalities.
- Comminuted fractures — Often seen in crushing injuries, comminuted fractures involve multiple broken bones and bone fragments. Most claimants require complicated surgeries and hardware to correct comminuted fractures, which might drastically limit movement. These serious fractures could even result in amputations.
- Paralysis (spinal cord damage) — Elevated falls, especially off high scaffolding, and heavy machinery injuries may permanently damage the spinal cord (central nervous system). Depending on the area of damage, spinal cord injuries may result in paraplegia or quadriplegia.
- Back and neck herniations — This common disabling injury often results from falling and slipping accidents. Slipped and ruptured spinal discs frequently cause bone damage, nerve pain, and general movement difficulties. Most back pain claimants cannot perform manual labor, and many injured workers struggle to walk.
- Facial damage — Malfunctioning power tools, explosions, and loose debris often causing facial lacerations, scarring, and fractures. Some accidents even result in blindness and severe facial burns.
- Cancer — Certain cancers, including mesothelioma, develop in the years following asbestos exposure. Extended statutes of limitations exist for these construction site claims.
Workers’ compensation insurance, if available, may cover the claimant’s initial lost wages and medical costs. However, it rarely compensates injured construction workers for the pain, mental anguish, and inconvenience associated with disabling injuries.
Many workers begin suffering from depression after being forced into sedentary lifestyles, and injured claimants frequently need help at home. Spouses often take on additional responsibilities, which can increase stressful family dynamics. San Antonio construction accident lawyers may demand liable defendants and their insurers pay disabled workers for these additional losses.
Legal Claims Often Available to Injured Construction Workers
Building site accidents regularly involve co-worker negligence and/or OSHA safety violations. The circumstances surrounding the injury usually dictate available legal remedies and claims. In addition to requesting workers’ compensation coverage, dedicated construction injury lawyers frequently raise the following legal claims.
Negligence Per Se (OSHA Violations)
Many construction accident cases involve occupational safety violations. These violations give rise to negligence per se (strict liability) claims if following required safety protocols, such as tagging circuit boxes, would have prevented the injury. OSHA regulates hundreds of industries and publishes thousands of regulations each year.
Examples of construction safety regulations include:
- Providing rubberized safety equipment to electricians
- Maintaining fire safety and evacuation plans during demolitions
- Cleaning up puddles and potentially hazardous debris
- Providing workers with the correct A-frame ladders and/or scaffolding
- Prohibiting unlicensed use of heavy machinery
- Securing electrical circuits
The claimant’s specific industry (such as general construction, electrical, roofing, or plumbing), often dictates the applicable occupational regulations. Normally, the injured worker’s employer must provide industry-specific safety equipment and training.
The building owner must also follow general property safety guidelines, which may include removing daily debris, fencing off dangerous construction areas, ensuring appropriate electrical safety, and reducing groundwater. In most cases, the building owner contractually delegates these tasks to the general contractor.
This common claim includes both OSHA violations and careless accidents. Co-workers may simply drop heavy debris or fail to adequately secure safety harnesses. Construction workers hit by reversing bulldozers or otherwise injured due to non-OSHA violations might still demand compensation under this legal theory.
Product manufacturers must make their products safe for their intended use. This means tools, boots, and building supplies intended for construction professionals should contain appropriate safety features and industrial-level materials.
Examples of potential product liability claims include selling core drills with substandard drill bits or large excavators without sufficient emergency braking systems. Product liability claims may involve poorly designed products, manufacturing defects, or failure to warn claims. Paula Wyatt and her dedicated legal team have recovered millions for clients injured by defective products.
Gross Negligence and Recklessness
This category of negligence covers shockingly careless conduct, including:
- Employers turning a blind eye to reported safety concerns
- Hiring unlicensed workers
- Refusing to maintain equipment
- Declining to provide safety equipment
While attorneys may help claimants report these violations to authorities, many employees fear retaliation and work in these poor conditions. Gross negligence claims might entitle injured workers to exemplary (punitive) damages in San Antonio.
In San Antonio, property owners and their designated agents (often the GC) must inspect and make their properties safe for lawful occupants. This may include warning workers of dangerous conditions, such as avoiding the third floor or providing elevated walkways with traction over flooded areas. Most construction accident claims involve some level of premises liability, permitting claimants to demand settlements from property insurers.
Over 1,000 workers die in construction site accidents each year. Whether the worker died suddenly or eventually succumbed to brain trauma, families might seek appropriate compensation in wrongful death cases. This may include demanding reimbursement for funeral costs, medical bills, end-of-life care, and lifetime lost wages. Spouses, parents, and children might also request damages for extreme emotional suffering.
Financial Damages Available in San Antonio Construction Accident Cases
Texas permits claimants, including construction workers, to demand both economic and non-economic damages when workers’ compensation doesn’t cover them. In gross negligence and intentional safety violation cases, workers might also demand punitive damages.
Successful construction accident claimants may demand reimbursement and/or prepayment for:
- Hospital and doctors bills
- Household help
- Home nursing costs
- Physical and occupational rehabilitation
- Cognitive therapy
- Medical equipment and pharmacy costs
- Medical transportation
- Lost wages and employment benefits like retirement contributions
- Mental health treatment
- Lost enjoyment of life and previous activities
- Frustration and inconvenience
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Disabling construction accident cases might settle for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Our dedicated San Antonio building site negligence lawyers often retain occupational and economic experts to calculate the true value of our clients’ injury claims.
San Antonio Construction Accident FAQs
Over 1,000 dedicated workers die in construction accidents each year, many from devastating falls due to safety failures. Attorney Paula Wyatt and her experienced San Antonio construction site injury team often receive the following questions from disabled workers about their accident claims. Discuss the specific answers to these questions in your case by calling (210) 340-5550 or contacting us online.
Q. How does workers’ compensation insurance work in Texas?
Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage, but most reputable construction companies maintain this insurance. This specialized coverage provides no-fault medical and lost wage benefits to construction workers—W-2 employees—injured on the job.
However, it does not cover injuries sustained due to the following:
- The claimant’s horseplay, such as fooling around with co-workers
- The claimant’s criminal acts, like injuries sustained while assaulting supervisors
- Unexpected natural disasters
- Third-party criminal assaults if directed at the employee for personal reasons
- Injuries sustained due to drug or alcohol use
- Intentionally self-inflicted injuries
Claimants should understand the above exceptions because workers’ compensation insurers frequently deny coverage by putting your accident into one of these categories.
In exchange for accepting workers’ compensation coverage, employees cannot sue their employers for personal injury damages. Subscribing employers must notify new hires about available workers’ compensation benefits and give employees at least five days to become beneficiaries or waive their rights and retain traditional personal injury protections. Workers who waive benefits may sue employers for construction site injuries.
Employees with workers’ compensation benefits may also bring personal injury claims against non-employers, including:
- General contractors
- Building owners
- Dangerous product manufactures
- Contracted co-workers
Contracted workers (1099 independent contractors) may also file personal injury litigation against negligent parties. Our San Antonio construction accident lawyers recommend taking advantage of available workers’ compensation benefits while seeking additional compensation from negligent non-employers. A construction site accident lawyer may help an injured independent contractor sue negligent non-employers for damages.
Q. How do I get San Antonio workers’ compensation benefits after construction accidents?
Claimants with benefits must notify employers of the injury event within 30 days. This generally requires filing initial injury reports, which triggers disability and injury evaluations. An attorney should review any injury rating immediately—no disability, partial disability, full disability, or light duty—as claimants only have 90 days to appeal these determinations. Claimants have up to 30 days to file their injury reports because many construction workers ignore the initial pain, which may worsen over time.
Lawyers recommend immediately reporting potential injuries, even if you’re only experiencing minor discomfort. This often helps preserve essential evidence of defective conditions or products. It’s also easier to identify witnesses and link your injuries to the workplace.
Employees commonly downplay potential accidents in front of co-workers, but this could hurt your case. After filing the initial injury report, claimants have one year from the date of the accident to file formal workers’ compensation claims. Some injured workers have additional time if their injuries worsen over time, i.e., back pain develops into a ruptured disc.
Q. Can employers blame construction site accidents on the general danger associated with my profession?
Texas provides special legal protections to construction workers employed by non-subscribing employers, which are employers that don’t carry workers’ compensation benefits. These employees lose common personal injury defenses such as assumption of risk, injury avoidance, co-worker negligence, and contributory negligence. Losing these defenses often leads to accelerated judgments and settlements.
However, most non-subscribing employers don’t understand these legal constraints. They may immediately blame the employee for choosing a dangerous career or shift blame onto co-workers, but employers may not do so in court. If a negligent co-worker injured you or employers did not provide proper safety equipment, discuss your claims with our San Antonio construction accident lawyers.
Q. Construction sites are generally dangerous, so is the building owner responsible for worker safety?
When premises owners hire contractors, they’ve invited them onto their properties. This triggers the owner’s legal obligation to make the premises reasonably safe for workers by inspecting the worksite for dangerous conditions and warning workers about them or removing the danger. Realistically, property owners delegate these tasks to the general contractor, but this does not discharge their legal responsibilities.
Attorneys may bring premises liability claims against the construction site owner if workers suffered injuries due to property defects. The most common claims involve slipping on rain and groundwater, tripping in muddy conditions, and falling into trenches. Not every construction accident claim involves property owner liability, but many do. Recovering damages from property owners generally means filing claims with the property insurer.
Q. Who’s responsible if a loved one died in a San Antonio construction accident fall?
In most cases, fatalities on construction sites are due to falls from elevated positions. OSHA regulations require employers to provide workers with scaffolding, rather than A-frame ladders, when they are performing tasks at a high level.
Scaffolding can provide a safety net if something like material shifting, wet surfaces, or electrical shocks causes the worker to lose their balance and fall. Ladders, on the other hand, do nothing to stop falls from occurring. Unfortunately, many employers and general contractors don’t provide expensive scaffolding or follow necessary height safety protocols. This often occurs when subcontractors underbid the job to receive the award and must cut financial corners.
Further, the construction industry confuses responsibility for providing safety equipment.
Building owners delegate to general contractors, who delegate to subcontractors, who delegate to safety personnel and/or specific employees.
While each party is legally responsible for worker safety, employees often receive vague answers or excuses about unsafe conditions.
The relevant general contractor, building owner, negligent co-workers, subcontractors, and employers might all bear responsibility for fatal construction site accidents. Families could demand death benefits from applicable workers’ compensation carriers or file wrongful death litigation against negligent parties. Spouses, adult children, parents, and/or estate administrators should discuss potential wrongful death liability with the Wyatt Law Firm. We’ve recovered millions for families of fatally injured claimants.
Q. Can I still recover damages if I knew the worksite was unsafe but worked anyway?
Most skilled laborers risk losing their jobs by refusing to work in unsafe conditions. Courts understand that it’s often unreasonable to penalize employees for not speaking up. Refusing to work for hours on end, even justifiably, often results in termination. Claimants should report potential safety concerns to site supervisors and employers, including damaged equipment, intoxicated co-workers, puddles, or exposed live wires.
However, working in unsafe conditions should not affect your financial recovery. Liable parties might even bear additional financial responsibility — exemplary (punitive) damages — if they ignored workers’ safety complaints or willfully violated OSHA protocols. Our attorneys might help injured claimants recover damages and protect them from employer retaliation.
Q. What are the most common construction site safety violations?
Every year, OSHA publishes the top ten workplace safety violations leading to preventable injuries. Nearly all the top ten violations involved construction site safety failures.
Here is the 2020 list:
- Preventing construction site falls by blocking edges and providing appropriate safety equipment (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Failing to communicate and warn workers about worksite hazards
- Failing to protect construction workers from respiratory dangers, including asbestos, smoke, and carbon monoxide
- Failing to provide necessary and safe scaffolding
- Failing to provide necessary and safe ladders
- Electrocutions due to lockout/tagout non-compliance
- Negligent operation of industrial trucks
- Failing to provide proper fall-prevention training to employees and supervisors
- Failing to provide construction workers with proper eye and face protection
- Defective industrial machinery and machine guarding failures
These failures involved direct OSHA regulatory violations, potentially supporting negligence per se claims. Summarizing these results is simple. When construction supervisors cut corners, innocent workers suffer career-ending and often fatal injuries.
Q. What kinds of damages can I recover after San Antonio construction accident injuries?
In Texas, construction site injury claimants might demand damages from insurers or negligent defendants:
- Workers’ compensation payments and settlements — Eligible claimants might obtain medical coverage, partial lost wages, and death benefits from insurers. Injured workers suffering from long-term disabilities, including traumatic brain injuries, burns, paralysis, and fractures, might request lump sum workers’ comp settlements.
- Economic damages — These include direct financial losses associated with accident injuries, including, but not limited to, medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, household help, nursing care, lost employment benefits, lost career opportunities, and lost income.
- Non-Economic (pain and suffering) damages — These financial awards include the real but incalculable losses associated with serious construction site injuries. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional anguish, impairment, disfigurement, and loss of consortium compensation.
- Exemplary (punitive) damages — Though not available in general negligence cases, construction companies might owe punitive damages to claimants injured by extreme neglect and intentional safety oversights. This is especially true if multiple workers complained about dangers and contractors turned a blind eye to save money.
While economic and non-economic damages are always available to successful personal injury claimants, not everyone can demand workers’ compensation benefits or punitive damages. Experienced San Antonio construction accident attorneys determine damages eligibility on a case-by-case basis, but seriously injured construction workers might have substantial financial claims.
Q. How long does it take to settle construction site injury claims?
Construction workers have physically demanding jobs. Even sprained wrists can disable electricians, plumbers, and painters for weeks. More serious construction injuries often result in short and long-term disabilities requiring new careers. These claims often take years to completely settle because occupational, medical, and economic experts must determine your prognosis and overall financial losses. Workers’ compensation adjusters, property insurers, and defense attorneys will also hire experts to downplay your disability. As such, the settlement negotiation process takes time.
During this period, most construction employees can recover immediate medical and lost wage benefits from WC insurers. You may also settle your workers’ compensation claims while attorneys pursue premises liability and negligence litigation against liable third parties. Property insurers might also offer quicker settlements to clear the way for litigation against the general contractor and negligent subcontractors.
Q. How much is my San Antonio workplace accident claim worth?
Because many construction site injuries result in long-term disabilities, claimants might recover hundreds of thousands in damages. Skilled laborers permanently injured in their primes might demand over $1,000,0000 in anticipated lost wages and career damages. Your claim’s overall value generally depends on your disability level, salary, earning capacity, medical expenses, pain and suffering, impairment, and emotional suffering. The experienced construction accident lawyers at Wyatt Law Firm strive to maximize the value of your claims. We have recovered over half a billion dollars for wrongfully injured clients.
Q. How much does it cost to hire a construction accident lawyer in San Antonio?
At Wyatt Law Firm, there is no upfront fee for hiring a specialized construction accident lawyer. Our injury attorneys only take on cases that qualify for a contingency fee, meaning that they are not paid unless the injured worker receives the compensation they are owed.
All court fees, expert witness fees, and safety inspection fees are paid for in advance by the firm. If the client is able to receive a settlement or judgment, the lawyer will receive a percentage of the amount as their fee.
Consider this example of a traditional construction accident fee structure:
- Initial settlement offer: $100,000
- Accepted final insurance settlement: $1,500,000
- Attorneys’ fee: 40 percent of $1.5 million = $600,000
- Remaining balance = $900,000
- Reimbursement for fees & expenses = $50,000
- Remaining balance = $850,000
- Payment of medical and other liens = $150,000
- Total client take home = $700,000
Reputable law firms will be transparent about their fee structures. While these costs may seem high, most injured construction workers cannot defeat experienced insurance defense lawyers without dedicated counsel. And frequently—as in this example—we end up securing for our clients far more than they could have recovered on their own.
Get Your Free and Confidential San Antonio Construction Accident Legal Consultation
With our no-recovery, no-fee guarantee, injured construction workers can pursue compensation without any upfront costs. Discuss maximizing available insurance payments with our San Antonio construction accident lawyers by calling (210) 340-5550 or connecting with us online.
Wyatt Law Firm, PLLC
21 Lynn Batts Lane, Suite 10
San Antonio, Texas 78218