Should I Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident?Working as safely as possible on construction sites requires proper training, well-maintained equipment and vehicles, and protective gear. When construction workers lack these crucial safety measures, accidents and injuries are more likely to happen.
Do I Need a Construction Site Accidents Lawyer?
Unfortunately, people injured in construction accidents often encounter grave medical and financial concerns. They may face a long recovery, and their injuries may leave them unable to work, wondering how they will pay for basic necessities in addition to growing medical expenses. They may need continued medical care and therapies yet fear these treatments are out of reach.If you’re currently facing this set of challenges, you might wonder if you should seek legal help. If you suffered an injury in a construction accident, it may benefit you immensely to consult an experienced construction site accidents lawyer. A powerful attorney can help you manage your financial obligations and medical issues, and fight for your rights, ultimately seeking the compensation you deserve for your damages.
Types of Construction Accident Injuries
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million individuals labor at approximately 252,000 construction sites in the United States daily.The construction industry is full of potential dangers, some of which can cause serious physical damage that can last a person's entire life. This can mean being unable to go back to work or do activities they once enjoyed. Even less serious injuries might lead to months of agonizing pain and require treatments or operations. Construction site accident victims have the right to be compensated by employers and potentially third parties for their injuries. The amount you can claim will depend on the severity, duration, and circumstances of these damages. The most common types of construction accident injuries include:
Construction accidents can occur for many reasons, such as lack of training, operator errors, equipment malfunctions, and lack of protective equipment. These injuries may also happen because someone failed to do something they should have done. In a legal context, this is referred to as negligence. Some of the most common accidents on construction sites are:
Crane or hoist accidents
Falls from heights such as scaffolding, ladders, and roofs
Slips and trips
Gas leaks, fires, and explosions
Forklift and vehicle accidents
Trench accidents or collapses
Elevator shaft accidents
Electrocutions from machinery or unsecured power lines
Machinery accidents due to malfunction or negligence
Struck-by accidents happen when a worker is hit by a motor vehicle or piece of machinery while working on a construction site
Caught-between accidents happen when a limb or an individual’s entire body may get caught by a piece of equipment or crushed by the debris of a construction site accident
Exposure to dangerous chemicals or toxins which lead to severe respiratory illnesses
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance gives financial benefits for medical costs, lost wages, and rehabilitation expenses to employees who suffered an injury or became ill during the course of their employment. If an employee dies from injuries they received on the job, it also pays death benefits to their family.The workers’ comp system aims to give prompt payment of income benefits and medical bills without needing to prove fault on behalf of the employer, co-workers, or third parties. Typically, the employer purchases a workers’ compensation insurance policy to pay these benefits when necessary to all employees. Following a construction site accident case, these benefits can help you return to work. However, workers' compensation claims may not be sufficient to cover all expenses, and these claims will not compensate an injured worker for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
How Do You Receive Compensation for Construction Accidents?
If you sustained a construction accident while on the clock, seeking medical care and wage compensation through workers’ compensation might be your only or your first source of help. In most states, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system (neither you nor your employer is responsible for your injuries). Instead, you agree not to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, and they decide to compensate you for most of your wages and all of your injury-related medical bills.However, in some cases, you may still have the right to a third-party personal injury claim. This may be an option if:
You weren’t an employee at the construction site (perhaps you were a bystander or contractor)
You suffered an injury due to a malfunctioning or faulty piece of equipment or machinery
Another person or company is responsible for your construction accident injuries
If you are an employee, it can be challenging to determine if a third party might have liability for your injuries. You need a skilled construction accident attorney on your side who can investigate who and what caused the accident to determine liability.You might file both a worker’s comp claim and a third-party negligence claim if a third party caused the accident.
What Do You Need to Win a Construction Accident Case?
Most construction injury cases depend on negligence and liability. Individuals who act negligently do not intend to cause an injury to someone else; their liability comes from careless or thoughtless behavior or a failure to act when a reasonable person should have acted. Behavior is defined as “negligent” when it doesn’t meet a legally recognized standard of using reasonable care under the conditions to protect others from harm.When building your case, your construction accident lawyer will focus on proving four individual yet related elements in your case.Even if your case settles before reaching the courts, your attorney must have the evidence to prove:
Duty of care: An obligation to use the same level of reasonable care that another person in a similar situation should use—for example, an employer who properly trains its employees on how to use safety equipment.
Breach of duty: Doing or not doing something that an average individual should do if they were in a similar situation. For example, the employer not providing proper training on the use of safety equipment on the job.
Causation (cause in fact): The plaintiff (injured party) must show that the defendant’s (at-fault party) breach of duty was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury and losses. For example, the injured construction worker or their construction accident attorney would have to show that they suffered injuries because the employer did not properly train them on safety equipment.
Damages: Because the injured party sustained an injury or loss that a reasonable individual in that same circumstance might expect or foresee, financial compensation may be the only way to give relief for those injuries. Damages can be numerous and might include past and future medical care, lost wages, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and more.
Hiring an attorney who has vast experience representing clients with construction accident injuries can ensure that there is enough convincing evidence in your case to get the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.
Who Can You Hold Liable if You Suffer an Injury on a Construction Site?
Depending on the situation, the injured individual might recover compensation from several parties, including the construction company, general contractors, subcontractors, or property owners. These entities have a legal and ethical duty to take reasonable steps to keep others safe and avoid construction site accidents.If the construction company doesn’t remove the obstructions they created and a person trips and falls, a victim can hold it liable for the resulting injuries. Construction companies should also notify nearby pedestrians, if they can, to use stay off the sidewalk due to the risk of injury. If a company fails to place things such as barriers or warning lamps in or near its construction area, it can be liable for a construction site accident.Suppose you suffered an injury at or near a construction site, but didn’t work there. You should still contact a knowledgeable construction accident attorney as soon as possible. They can review the situation and discuss your legal rights and options moving forward. If you decide to file an injury claim, they can take over the process for you while you rest and recover from your injuries.
How Long Do You Have to Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident?
All things considered, you should seek legal help as soon as possible after a construction accident. There are many reasons for this. First, legally, all states impose a lawsuit filing deadline known as a statute of limitations restricting how long an injury party in any type of accident has to file a legal claim.Each state determines its own deadlines; however, most are between one and four years from the date of the accident. By contacting an attorney as soon as you can, you can avoid missing the filing deadline for a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
Preserving Valuable Evidence
Evidence can quickly disappear after a construction accident. Equipment, vehicles, and setups get moved, and employers might repair or discard faulty equipment. The witnesses’ memories can fade, and they might delete photos or video evidence.When you hire a construction accident lawyer, they know what to do and can go to work immediately to preserve evidence in your case. Often, this involves sending legal requests in the form of a letter telling certain parties not to destroy evidence.
Don’t Let Insurance Companies Take Advantage of You
If you file a personal injury claim without the assistance of an attorney, the insurance company may try to take advantage of you. They may immediately offer you a meager settlement, attempting to get you to settle before you talk to an attorney and find out what your claim is worth. They may also try to twist your words to fit their agenda regarding your accident.When you hire a construction accident lawyer, they will take over all communications with the insurance company and their attorneys. If they do need to speak with you, your attorney will be present to protect you and your interests.
While you may have several years before you must file a formal lawsuit in your case, you should seek legal assistance immediately after a construction accident. This way, you maximize the benefits you receive from hiring a lawyer, which can also help you maximize your compensation.
Get Help From a Seasoned Construction Accident Lawyer Today
Construction establishments and third parties have a duty to both their workers and the public to adhere to safety regulations and keep workplaces as accident-free as possible. In addition, OSHA and state occupational safety departments provide extensive directives on how construction sites should handle materials, equipment, and work to reduce the risk of injury or death. However, companies attempting to meet a deadline or finish a development under budget may cut corners on safety precautions. This is unacceptable, and an experienced accident attorney will hold them accountable for their actions.Our San Antonio personal injury law firm has recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for injured workers and accident victims in Texas. We can help you determine your options for legal recourse, whether it be through workers' compensation benefits or a third-party insurance claim, and take the necessary actions to recover financial compensation for you. If you’ve suffered a construction site accident, it’s in your best interest to contact a skilled construction accident lawyer. Contact us today to speak with a lawyer who can answer your questions and arrange a free consultation.