Construction work is among the most dangerous occupations in the nation and unfortunately leads the industry in terms of worker fatalities and on-the-job injuries. The nature of the work – from having to use scaffolds, cranes, ladders or work near power lines or in trenches etc. – bears inherent risks and poses an extraordinary amount of danger to not just the workers involved but also other bystanders and passersby who are in the vicinity.
Sadly, construction injuries occur with alarming frequency, even with the numerous regulations that exist at local, state and federal levels, mandatory worker safety training, and inspections and monitoring programs that are routinely carried out at the worksites. Workers continue to be injured in accidents involving chemical or other spills, struck-by incidents, falls from elevations and malfunctioning equipment.
Steps to Review Before Filing Your Claim
Construction accident injuries can be catastrophic leading to traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, limb amputations, spinal cord injuries, etc. Workers may need emergency treatment, hospitalization, and extensive rehabilitation and therapy to recover. Sometimes, victims never recover completely and lose their ability to earn a livelihood, which may prove financially devastating for their families.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, please remember that you have legal rights and should consider taking immediate action to protect your rights. Seek the guidance of an experienced construction lawyer right after your accident. Depending on the type of work-related injury you have suffered, you may be able to file an injury claim against a third party (or parties) in addition to seeking workers' compensation benefits through your employer. A third-party claim is usually worth much more than any compensation you receive through your employer. Your lawyer will be able to guide you here and inform you if you have such a claim.
General contractors, construction companies, building owners, property managers, etc. have a responsibility to maintain a safe worksite and ensure that it does not pose a danger to workers, visitors or pedestrians at or near the worksite. They are required to adhere to U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards, which include among others, a requirement for the employer to provide workers safety training in a language they (employees) can understand, provide personal protective equipment at no cost to workers, provide hearing exams or other medical tests to workers, and to not retaliate or discriminate against workers when they report a work injury or when they exercise their rights. Employers must also work to eliminate or reduce hazards in the worksite.
Proceeding with Your Construction Claim
Workers will benefit from visiting the OSHA website to learn about their rights in the workplace. If your employer is not following OSHA standards and/or failing to correct a hazardous condition at the construction site, you can file a complaint with OSHA and also request a site inspection.
If you have suffered injuries in a construction-related accident you should get medical attention right away. Please remember that by getting prompt treatment for your injuries you help establish a record that will be valuable when you file a claim. You should also report the accident to your supervisor and obtain a copy of the report for your files. Try to collect any evidence from the scene of the incident. This may include photos or videos of a dangerous condition that caused your injury.
The next step to take – and one that is very likely crucial to the success of your construction injury lawsuit – is to contact an experienced lawyer who will protect your legal rights and inform you about all your legal options. Your lawyer will also let you know who can be held accountable for your injuries.
Third-Party Construction Accident Claims
A third-party claim is a personal injury claim that is filed against general contractors, sub-contractors, manufacturers, construction companies, property owners/managers etc. A third-party claim cannot be made against your employer or your co-workers. If your lawyer determines a party, say for instance, an equipment manufacturer, was at fault for your injury, then you can file a claim for damages against them. This claim can be made in addition to filing for insurance benefits through your workplace.
The compensation that is available through your employer/workplace is based on the insurance that they are required to carry by law. Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, an injured worker is eligible for this benefit that is meant to cover a portion of his or her medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. It may also cover temporary and permanent disabilities. In cases where a worker's injuries prove fatal, his or her family members may seek death benefits through the employer's insurance and/or file a wrongful death claim against a third party.
However, the amount obtained through your employer may prove insufficient especially in the cases of more serious injuries and those with long-term implications. Please remember that workers' compensation does not cover care such as physical therapy and/or some surgical procedures. Workers' comp doesn't provide reimbursement for any continuing treatment, therapy and care a person may need. It also doesn't compensate victims for pain and suffering or loss or earning capacity, which is extremely important when a worker has suffered a catastrophic injury and is unable to return to work.
As mentioned earlier, third-party lawsuits are more substantive in terms of the compensation they offer for workers and their families. If you have been injured in a construction accident or on-the-job accident, please contact a work injury lawyer at once. Your attorney will explain if you have a third-party claim and advise you regarding the best course of action for your case and your situation.
How a Construction Injury Lawyer Can Help
Obtaining compensation for a construction site injury is not something to take lightly. The experienced construction accident lawyers at Greenberg & Ruby LLP have a long and successful track record of helping injured victims secure maximum compensation for their losses. They understand the physical, emotional and financial challenges that workers and their families suffer through in the aftermath of a traumatic accident, and they know how to meet their needs. Call (323) 782-0535 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.