If you have been injured while working at a construction site, you are likely covered by workers’ compensation for medical expenses and a portion of your wages. However, if an employer or third-party negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to significantly greater compensation by filing a construction accident lawsuit against the responsible parties.
It is common knowledge that construction is one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are approximately 150,000 nonfatal construction-related injuries each year. And in 2018, more than 20 percent of the 4,779 private industry worker deaths occurred in the construction industry. Fortunately, most of these injuries and fatalities are largely preventable with proper training, supervision, and maintenance of equipment. If you have been injured at a construction site due to another’s negligence, contact a work injury lawyer today.
Was Negligence a Factor?
Although workers’ compensation exists to cover most workers who are injured on the job, it’s limited in the compensation it provides. In most cases, the injured employee will receive coverage for related medical expenses and two-thirds of lost wages while they are unable to work. In exchange for accepting workers’ compensation coverage, the employee agrees not to sue. If, however, an employer or third-party vendor was grossly negligent, you may be able to obtain much more compensation with a lawsuit, including additional lost wages, pain and suffering, transportation costs, and other associated expenses.
Let’s say you told your employer that the scaffolding you were working on was missing necessary support and seemed to be a bit shaky as a result. Your employer agreed to look at it but left early for the day and never followed through. While working on the scaffolding the next afternoon, it collapsed as a result of the missing support, and you fell to the ground, sustaining serious injuries. In such a situation, your employer’s failure to immediately respond to a serious safety concern, resulting in your injuries, is an example of negligence. As such, you would likely obtain greater compensation with a lawsuit than you would by filing a claim for workers’ compensation.
Types of Construction Accidents
Working at heights and around heavy machinery and powerful tools creates an inherently dangerous environment. Proper safety protocol is essential, and employers have a duty to respond promptly and effectively to concerns about safety issues. The most common types of construction accidents for which lawsuits are filed include:
- Scaffolding collapses
- Crane accidents
- Falls from high elevations
- Getting caught or crushed between objects
- Trench collapses
- Motor vehicle accidents
What to Do if You Are Injured at a Construction Site
If the accident is serious, seek immediate medical attention or call for help. If, however, the injuries do not appear life-threatening or particularly urgent, it is still important to inform your employer of the accident as soon as possible. It is your employer’s duty to file an official report, but this cannot happen unless you report the incident. Furthermore, failure to promptly report the injury can result in your employer or the insurance company denying that the injury actually occurred on the job. Once you have informed your employer, seek medical attention even if injuries are not immediately apparent. This paper trail can be of immense benefit to a future lawsuit.
Use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene and any obvious injuries, if possible. Ask witnesses to take pictures, if you are unable to do so. Also, ask any coworkers who witnessed the accident for their contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be invaluable to an injury lawsuit.
Who Can You Sue?
If you have been injured in a construction accident, there may be multiple parties involved in your lawsuit. Any negligent party can be liable for resulting injuries and damages. Even government agencies can be sued.
According to Eric Dubin of Los Angeles-based Dubin Law, construction accidents can be a tricky land mine of legal issues.
“Causes can involve negligence, product liability, premise liability, and vicarious liability,” said Dubin. “Defendants range from the general contractor to all the subs on the project, and even potentially dangerous product manufacturers and sellers. If workers’ compensation is in play, you may be able to step outside and sue those on the job, other than the employer. Even with comparative fault, construction accident lawsuits can be very strong cases with insurance available to cover verdicts and large settlements.”
Work injury lawsuits are a complex area of the law and determining liability can be extremely difficult. This is why it is so essential to work with an experienced attorney if you have been injured in any work-related accident.
Contact a Construction Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured on the job, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced injury lawyer without delay. Do not attempt to navigate this complicated process on your own. Following a work injury, all you should be focused on is healing. Find the peace of mind and compensation you deserve by contacting a work injury lawyer today.