What to Know Before Hiring a Construction Accident Attorney
A guide to violations of workplace safety standards including falls, electrocutions, being struct by an object, and getting caught in or between objects.
Seek immediate medical treatmentWith heavy equipment and hazardous chemicals all over a construction site, accidents can result in severe injuries which makes receiving medical attention right after the incident a high priority. Even if you only sustained minor cuts and bruises, it will be beneficial for your case to have each injury documented by a medical representative.
Report the accident to your employerIn the moment of the incident, you will likely be in shock, in pain and overwhelmed, but it's crucial for the outcome of your situation that you report everything that has just transpired. Notify your immediate supervisor, human resources representative, or designated company contact of the exact details relating to the accident and report on any injuries you've sustained, even if they are minor. This will create an initial record of the accident, which will be necessary for filing claims for monetary reparations through workers' compensation or a third-party.
Know your workers' compensation rightsAll 50 states utilize some form of workers' compensation, which is covered through an employer's insurance policy. With this in place, an employee is entitled to receive damages for injuries sustained from the accident. There are some construction workers that are limited by law to only receive workers' compensation for injuries that occurred on a job site, meaning a third-party claim is not an option.
In cases where job safety was not the reason for the injury, it's possible for workers to receive compensation from parties other than their employer that may be responsible, such as an equipment manufacturer or chemical company. If this party was liable due to faulty machinery or defective tools, an injured worker may be able to file a personal injury claim.
Your supervisors should provide you with the proper information to receive workers' compensation coverage for your accident.
It's critical to note that you should not sign a settlement offer brought to you from your employer without consulting with an experienced attorney first.
Non-worker injuriesConstruction workers aren't the only ones at risk for injury. Non-workers can be harmed by falling debris, unmarked holes and unattended machinery. It's the responsibility of the site contractor to enforce the necessary precautions so that the public is aware of potentially dangerous site conditions.
In some states, if a contractor doesn't enforce the proper safety precautions, they will be liable for any pedestrian injury that results from their negligence. In states where liability isn't automatically assumed, the failure to provide basic safety can be used by the injured party as evidence that the contractor should be held responsible for any injuries they sustained.
How can an attorney can help?Employees typically receive less payment in a workers' compensation case than they would through a personal injury lawsuit carried out by an experienced attorney. Depending on the type of situation, there may be various parties that should be held accountable for the accident beyond your basic workers' compensation rights.
Examples of these types of potential faults include:
A coworker could be responsible if they were negligent in performing their job duties.
The employer could be liable if they allowed unsafe working conditions.
A manufacturer could be at fault if defectiveness of their equipment resulted in worker injuries.
If at least one of the above mentioned individuals is responsible, a third-party claim will need to be filed by an attorney in order to take legal action against the negligent party. In many states, if an injury results from an OSHA regulation violation, the construction company is deemed at fault and is then liable for all injuries sustained in the accident.
After an initial consultation with an attorney, you'll be guided in filing a third-party claim. There will be several steps involved, including:
Filing the claim
Gathering and presenting documented evidence
Negotiating a settlement
Attending a trial (if necessary)