Due to the heavy machinery and other hazards, construction sites can be extremely dangerous if workers, employers, and pedestrians are not careful. If you have been injured in a construction accident, it is imperative you speak with a skilled personal injury accident attorney who can evaluate your case and view your options. Below are some of the frequently asked questions regarding construction accidents.
What should I do if I were in a construction accident?
The first thing you should always do with every accident is to seek medical attention if your injuries are serious. Then you should report the accident and speak with either your supervisor or employer. Workers compensation typically requires a visit to the hospital which is helpful evidence in your workers' compensation case.
Who can I sue if I was injured at a construction site?
You should be able to sue any person who is at fault for your injuries other than your employer. Your remedies against your employer are limited to workers’ compensation. But your remedies against a general contractor or owner may be limited to cases where you can prove active negligence on behalf of these parties.
Can I file a lawsuit against 3rd parties even while collecting workers’ compensation?
Absolutely. If you can establish that somebody other than your employer acted negligently and caused or contributed to your injuries, you can still bring a lawsuit upon them. However, workers’ compensation carrier may be entitled to get some or all of their money back out of your recovery against the other responsible parties.
What are some causes of construction accidents?
Some of the more common causes of construction accidents are:
- being run over by a tractor, cement truck or other large construction vehicles
- crane accidents
- electrical accidents
- equipment accidents
- explosions and fires
- lack of safety equipment and/or failure to comply with Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration (OSHA)
- scaffolding accidents
- trench collapses
- welding accidents
What are the most common construction site injuries?
Because there is a variety of different types of accidents that can occur at a construction site, the injuries can vary as well:
- traumatic brain injuries
- spinal cord injuries
- cuts and lacerations
- broken bones
- loss of limbs
What if my employer is at fault for causing my injuries?
If your employer is at 100% fault, you are unfortunately out of luck. Your remedies are limited to workers’ compensation. If your employer is not 100% at fault you can sue any third parties that were involved. If your employer’s negligence was a major cause of your injury, you may be able to collect against the other responsible parties and not have to pay back the money awarded to you.
What if I was the one responsible for the accident?
If your own negligence was the only cause of your injuries, then you will not receive any money in a legal case. However, California is a comparative negligence state and a plaintiff can still recover money for their damages if there is at least one other party at fault. However, the amount of money is reduced by the amount of your own negligence.
What kind of compensation will I be awarded?
No accident is ever the same so it depends on the nature of the accident, your injuries and who was at fault. It’s a very tricky thing to determine how much money you might receive for compensation so consulting with an attorney who is skilled at such calculations would be a good choice.
What if I was injured while visiting or walking by a construction site?
If you were on or near a construction site but not working, you can sue any party who is responsible for your injuries including the owner, general contractor, and subcontractors. This duty is owed to you even if you are an uninvited guest at the site. Anybody who has control of the site owes you a duty of care.
What if my employer doesn’t carry worker’s compensation insurance?
If you suffered a serious injury and your employer doesn’t have workers compensation insurance, you are actually in a much better position. Under the law, if an employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance, you are allowed to sue the employer in a civil case, just like you can sue any other defendant plus liability which is easier to prove. You will be entitled to full compensation for your injuries rather than the worker’s compensation recovery.
What if I was working as a subcontractor?
This gets tricky. The owner or the general contractor may be found liable to workers at the site for failing to use ordinary care to provide them with a reasonably safe place to work, warn of dangers and keep the site in a reasonably safe condition.
How long do I have to file?
Whether you file for a worker’s compensation or a personal injury claim, you shouldn’t wait to speak with a lawyer and file a claim. Your employer must file a worker’s compensation report within days of your accident. Following that, the sooner you are able to apply for benefits the better, as the process can be long. Personal injury claims have a deadline of 2 years so do not wait to speak with an injury accident attorney.
Do I need an attorney?
If you’ve been injured while being on a construction site, an experienced injury accident attorney is best to help you navigate through the complicated legal process in obtaining any compensation you deserve. Don’t wait to speak with an injury accident attorney if you’ve been injured.