Were you involved in a construction accident? Perhaps you think Workers’ Compensation covers you, so there is no need to hire a construction accident attorney. If your injuries are substantial, you could be footing the bill for future medical expenses and lost wages if you are counting on workers’ compensation to cover everything.
You should file a workers’ compensation claim if you are injured on the job, but you may also want to file a claim against a responsible third-party such as the general contractor or a subcontractor. A construction accident attorney is experienced in filing these claims and getting you a fair, comprehensive compensation package that will protect you in the future.
What to Do After a Construction Accident?
Of course, all accidents are different. Sometimes in a construction setting, there may not be other workers nearby.
If you are injured in a construction accident, you must get the help you need as quickly as possible.
- Assess your injuries if you can. If you can, yell for help or use your phone to try to get immediate medical attention. Dial 911 for emergency care. Non-life-threatening injuries should also be given medical attention as soon as possible.
- If someone witnessed the accident, ask for assistance. If you have suffered a head or back injury, stay as still as possible until medical professionals arrive.
- If witnesses saw your accident, get contact information if you do not have it. Take pictures of the accident site and injuries if you can, or ask someone to do it for you.
- Report your injuries as soon as possible to your manager or supervisor. Be to the point, giving only the necessary details. Do not elaborate until you have discussed your case with an attorney.
- Contact a construction accident attorney.
- Do not accept any offers from insurance companies or company representatives until you consult an attorney.
- Do not give the company or insurance representatives any additional information.
Construction Accidents Are Not Rare
According to a recent report from Advisor Smith, twelve of the top 25 most dangerous jobs were in the construction segment.
This study found that these top jobs included:
- Oil derrick workers
- Crane operators
- Landscaping supervisors
- Highway and general maintenance workers
- Mining machine operators
- Cement masons
This study measured danger by loss of life; however, serious injuries occur that do not result in death as well. What may confuse some is that OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enforces workplace safety regulations, yet the accidents continue. So what causes all these construction accidents?
Causes of Construction Accidents
Not only are construction accidents caused by human error or neglect, but they can also be due to defective machinery or equipment. They can be caused by simply cutting corners and disregarding safety measures and precautions. Some of the most common construction accidents are:
Falls are the number one cause of death related to construction accidents and are usually due to unsafe conditions. Unmarked ledges, holes or openings, ladders found to be faulty, or unmarked trenches or excavation sites. Improper housekeeping, such as slick floors, debris, or weather-related unsafe conditions, are also common issues. This can be due to a lack of training, disregard for safety procedures, faulty equipment, or job inexperience.
New York has some special laws protecting construction workers who suffer falls from certain accidents. New York State Labor Law (LAB) §240, also known as the Scaffold Law, protects workers under its statute as well as other specific statutes that your construction accident attorney is aware of.
Electric Shock and Electrocution
Frequently resulting in death, electric shock is most common for construction done near power lines. Special safety training is available and important, but it is unfortunately not followed, resulting in serious injury or death.
Machinery or Equipment Accidents
These accidents are caused by getting stuck in, struck by, run over, or otherwise injured by machinery or equipment on the job site. Also included are vehicle accidents causing collisions that happen while on the job. Sometimes this can occur because of faulty equipment, improper maintenance, or unsafe usage.
Burns can be caused by unsafe working conditions, improper storage of chemicals, or not following procedures. Steam, chemicals, or electrical burns may be the most common.
Common Construction Injuries
Some of the most common construction workplace injuries are broken bones, injuries to the eyes, traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, and burns. Of course, this list is not all-inclusive, and a combination of these injuries could occur from one accident. Unfortunately, approximately 5,000 people die annually in construction accidents.
How a Construction Accident Attorney Can Help You
An experienced construction accident attorney is essential for getting a settlement that can protect you in the future. Many accidents have long-term medical and psychological consequences that may leave you footing the bill for years to come. An experienced accident lawyer will research your case, paying careful attention to the details of the accident and determining the cause and the injuries that resulted from the accident.
A construction accident attorney gets it all together.
There is a lot to construction accident cases, and collecting all the details for your case can be overwhelming. It becomes even more difficult if you are injured and are healing from those injuries. That’s where a construction accident attorney comes in. They will gather all the documents and go over each piece of information.
Some documents and information collected are:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Photos or video evidence
- Medical Bills and Reports
- OSHA reports, complaints, or investigations
- Workers’ Compensation claims
Construction accident attorneys can facilitate the claim process by making sure they have all the necessary information, file documents as required, and require timely responses from all parties.
A construction accident attorney will hold responsible parties accountable.
Once a construction accident attorney has taken your case, they spend time determining how the accident happened and who shares the responsibility. Many people and companies, such as property owners, contractors, vendors and equipment manufacturers, may have contributed to the accident.
Because construction accident lawyers are experienced, they are familiar with the types of claims available to you.
Because several parties may bear responsibility, you may have multiple claims.
- Workers’ compensation claims may be made if your construction accident happened while working for your employer. A workers’ compensation claim may not cover self-employed contractors and sub-contractors.
- Claims against vehicles, equipment, tools, or machinery manufacturers are often made when the product is defective or unsafe.
- Third-party claims are generally filed against the property owners, vendors, contractors, or subcontractors, who contributed to the accident by being negligent, causing or contributing to unsafe conditions, or in any other way being a contributor to your construction accident injury.
Dealing with claim complexities is the forte of the experienced construction accident lawyer. Through research, they can determine the cause of the accident. These parties are responsible, and with the help of medical experts, the extent of future treatment and determine if you will ever return to the job you held before your accident.
A construction accident attorney can deal with insurance companies.
Insurance companies work with one goal in mind: to make money. Their goal is not to provide you with a fair settlement but to get by paying the lowest amount you will accept.
Your attorney knows this and has worked with these insurance companies in the past, so they know your attorney, unlike them, has your best interests in mind when fighting for your claim. It is important that you do not accept any insurance offer without discussing it with your attorney to ensure it is fair and will cover all of your needs.
A construction accident attorney ensures you are compensated for everything you are entitled to.
The injuries caused by construction accidents can be long-lasting and expensive. Because construction accident lawyers are knowledgeable in accidents similar to yours, they know that future costs can devastate your financial future.
Construction accident attorneys work hard to make sure you recover compensation for:
- Medical bills. This includes hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy, mobility devices, emotional counseling, prescriptions, prosthetics, diagnostic testing, and any other medical expense related to your construction accident. Also included are future medical bills. Your attorney will call on medical experts to forecast the effect the injury will have on your future employment and any projected medical expenses.
- Property damage. If you had any personal property damaged during your accident, your attorney would add that to your claim.
- Loss of income. This includes the time you were off work due to your injury. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work or returning in the same capacity as before, you should be compensated for your income losses. If you are disabled and can never return to work because of your injuries, you should be compensated for the income you would have made had the accident not occurred.
- Pain and suffering. Non-economic damages, also referred to commonly as pain and suffering, may also be included in your construction injury claim. Since they are non-economic, there are no medical bills or invoices to go off of. Pain and suffering damages include such things as the pain that your injury causes you that diminishes your life in some way. It can also include insomnia, depression, anger, frustration, and PTSD. Your attorney has a calculation that can determine the approximate value of your pain and suffering.
Your construction accident attorney offers advice in settling your case and ensures you stay legally compliant.
In addition to meeting filing deadlines, a construction accident attorney will let you know if the offer you receive is acceptable. Since the construction accident lawyer has experience in construction accident claims, they will know if the insurance company issued a fair settlement offer. They can advise you when it makes sense to hold out for a better offer, make a counteroffer, or proceed to court. Most construction accident cases do not go to court, but your attorney has the experience to fight for your rights and your compensation in case they do.
Get the Help You Need With a Construction Accident Injury Attorney
On Long Island, like anywhere else, construction accidents make up a huge portion of total work-related injuries. If you work in construction, you know how important it is to have a safe workplace, be aware of hazards, and have equipment and tools that are manufactured free of defects.
But accidents do happen. If you are a construction worker injured on the job, your injuries can be life-changing or life-ending. Choosing to navigate the legal complexities and negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies is an uphill battle. Construction accident attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to work to get the largest settlement that will fairly compensate you for your injuries.
Despite many OSHA and other safety regulations, construction continues to top high-risk industries. If a construction accident injured you, you may falsely believe that workers’ compensation is the only claim you can make. Contact an experienced construction accident attorney to discuss your case and determine how they can help you.