What Happens if a Construction Worker Gets Hurt on the Job?
Construction workers have hazardous jobs. This is because individuals working at a construction site are around dangerous machinery and equipment daily. Consequently, they are more prone to slips, falls, crush injuries, and other severe accidents than other workers.
In some situations, injured construction workers may be eligible to pursue a workers’ compensation claim with their employer’s insurance company. However, if their workplace accident resulted from a third party’s negligence, they may file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit against that negligent party or the negligent party’s insurance company.
As soon as possible after suffering injuries on a construction site, injured workers should seek out experienced legal help as quickly as possible. A construction accident lawyer can discuss the circumstances of your construction accident with you, determine your legal options, and help you establish a plan of action for moving forward with your case.
Your attorney can also help you file a claim for various workers’ compensation benefits or a third-party claim with a negligent individual or entity’s insurance company.
No matter your situation, your construction accident lawyer will advocate for your legal rights at every stage of the proceedings and help you maximize the damages and compensation you ultimately recover.
Dangerous Equipment on Construction Work Sites
One reason why construction sites are so dangerous is that they are full of heavy and dangerous equipment.
Some of the most hazardous equipment that individuals must work around on construction sites include:
- Construction vehicles, including diggers, cranes, and dump trucks
- High ladders and scaffolding can present fall hazards for workers. Hazardous chemicals may subject a worker to fumes while at a construction site.
- Explosives can lead to serious burn injuries and other physical complications.
- Drills, jackhammers, and other heavy machines that workers must use on a daily basis
If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries on a construction site that involved one of these types of dangerous equipment, you may be eligible to bring a workers’ compensation claim and/or a third-party claim, depending on your circumstances.
A construction accident attorney in your area can review your legal options and help you determine which type of claim you are eligible to file. Your lawyer can then help you file the claim on your behalf and work to maximize the monetary benefits and compensation you recover in your case.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
Construction workers who are around dangerous and heavy machinery daily are prone to various injuries. The injuries that an individual may suffer in a construction site accident will depend upon the accident circumstances, the amount of force involved, and whether the accident victim falls to the ground during the accident.
Some of the most common injuries that construction workers may suffer include:
- Eye injuries
- Burn injuries
- Jaw and teeth injuries
- Soft tissue neck and back contusions
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Rib fractures
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage, including vertebrae fractures
- Full or partial paralysis
To have the best chance of making a full recovery from your construction site injuries, you should follow through with any medical treatment regimen your healthcare provider recommends. For example, you may need to attend follow-up appointments with a medical specialist or undergo physical therapy treatment on an outpatient basis.
When seeking medical treatment following a construction site accident, you should avoid any significant gaps in your medical treatment, and not discharge yourself from treatment. Instead, you should let a medical provider determine when you have reached maximum medical improvement and issue the appropriate discharge papers.
Lengthy medical treatment gaps and self-discharges are often red flags for insurance company adjusters.
Specifically, when an insurance adjuster sees that an injured construction worker did not attend medical appointments continuously or discharged themselves from medical care (rather than waiting for a medical provider to formally discharge them), they may become highly skeptical about the worker’s claimed injuries.
Consequently, the adjuster may offer the injured worker far less compensation than if they had continuously received treatment after their accident.
While you treat your construction site injuries, your attorney can begin working for you and handling the legal components of your workers’ compensation claim or third-party injury claim.
Specifically, your lawyer can gather the necessary records to file your claim and pursue the benefits and compensation you deserve from the appropriate insurance company.
Types of Available Workers’ Comp Benefits
The workers’ compensation benefits that an injured construction worker can recover frequently depend upon the circumstances surrounding their accident and the specific injuries they suffered while on the job.
First, an injured construction worker may receive monetary compensation for their related medical expenses. They may also receive benefits for a portion of their lost income while treating for and recovering from their injuries.
In some construction accident scenarios, workers suffer permanent injuries that prevent them from working for a significant amount of time. In those situations, injured construction workers can make a claim for permanency benefits.
To recover these benefits, a medical provider will typically need to be on board in your case. That provider can perform a permanency evaluation after physically examining you. They can then draft a report and state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that you suffered one or more permanent impairments in your accident.
Finally, an injured construction worker may be eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation benefits through a voucher. These benefits are typically available in cases where a construction worker’s injuries are so severe that they cannot return to their former job or occupation.
One of the best ways to ensure that you maximize your workers’ compensation benefits is to have experienced legal counsel on board in your case as early in the process as possible.
A construction accident attorney will do everything possible to maximize your total benefits and, if necessary, represent you at a hearing before the California Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Filing a Third-party Claim after a Construction Accident
Because the Workers’ Compensation System exists in the State of California, injured construction workers cannot ordinarily file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against their employer for monetary damages.
However, in some situations, an injured worker can file a third-party claim against a separate negligent individual or entity.
Some of the most common types of third-party claims that an injured construction worker can file include:
- A claim against a negligent driver who caused a collision on the work site or caused an injured worker to suffer injuries in an accident while driving a work vehicle
- A product manufacturer who negligently failed to design or assemble a product or machine that construction workers use on-site, resulting in a product malfunction and injuries
- A construction site contractor, manager, supervisor, or another individual who fails to maintain the premises in a safe condition for the benefit of all workers
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, third-party personal injury claims have a basis in negligence. Therefore, to recover monetary damages as part of a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a third party, the injured construction worker will need to establish various legal elements of proof.
First, they must demonstrate that the other individual owed them a duty of reasonable care. For example, drivers on construction sites have an obligation to drive carefully and safely at all times – and to follow all applicable traffic laws and regulations.
Next, the injured construction worker must establish that the other party deviated from, or breached, their duty of reasonable care under the circumstances. For example, in the context of a construction site motor vehicle accident, the negligent driver must have violated a traffic law or otherwise drove in a careless, reckless, or distracted manner.
Additionally, the injured construction worker must establish that as a direct result of the other party’s negligence, the accident occurred. Finally, the injured worker must show that due to the construction accident, they suffered one or more physical injuries and damages.
A construction accident attorney in your area can help you satisfy these legal elements of proof so you can recover third-party damages in your case.
Possible Third-party Damages in a Construction Accident Case
The monetary damages an injured construction worker can recover in a personal injury claim or lawsuit depend largely upon various factors, including the nature and extent of their injuries, the circumstances surrounding their construction accident, and the benefits they already received as part of their workers’ compensation claim.
As part of a third-party claim or lawsuit, a construction worker may recover monetary compensation for:
- Additional medical expenses that the accident victim may incur in the future, such as expenses for ongoing physical therapy or a future medical procedure, such as a surgery
- Mental distress
- Past and future pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Long-term care costs, such as ongoing care and rehabilitation at an assisted living center or nursing home
- Additional rehabilitation costs
A construction accident lawyer in your area can determine if you can file a third-party claim or lawsuit for additional compensation. If you can move forward with your case, your attorney can file the necessary claim on your behalf within the applicable statute of limitations.
Your lawyer can then assist during all settlement negotiations or, if necessary, file a lawsuit and litigate your third-party claim in the California Court System.
If your case must proceed to litigation, your attorney can still reach a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you decide not to settle your case, a jury will be left to determine the case outcome – including the amount of monetary compensation to award you for your injuries.
Instead of taking your case to trial, however, you can pursue alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in your case, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Talk to a Construction Accident Lawyer Near You Today
In addition to recovering monetary benefits as part of a construction accident workers’ compensation claim, injured workers may be eligible to recover third-party damages as part of a personal injury claim or lawsuit. A construction accident lawyer in your area will make it a priority to maximize the monetary recovery you receive for your injuries.
Your lawyer can also represent you at all legal proceedings, including workers’ compensation hearings and legal proceedings in the court system. Your personal injury attorney in Orange County will aggressively advocate for your legal rights, introduce evidence on your behalf, and help you secure the best possible result in your workers’ compensation claim or third-party personal injury claim.
Your lawyer can do all this for you while you focus on the most important thing for yourself, recovering from your injuries as best you can.
Never assume your employer or insurance company is giving you fair advice about your legal options. They want to minimize their liability and do not have your best interests in mind. Seek professional legal advice to ensure you know your rights and pursue all possible avenues of compensation. Do not wait to set up a free consultation today.