If you are a construction worker who has suffered an injury on the job, you want to maximize your financial compensation. Although you can always apply for workers’ compensation benefits, they will only pay your medical costs and replace a portion of your income.
You usually cannot sue your employer to obtain additional compensation, you can sue other parties in a third-party liability case.
When you suffer an injury in an accident, you will need a construction accident lawyer to investigate your accident promptly and determine if a third party contributed to it. Your construction accident lawyer will do everything they can to maximize your compensation.
Defective Construction Machinery or Safety Equipment
One common cause of injuries on a construction site is defective working equipment. You may have used power tools or drove a motorized vehicle like a Bobcat when it malfunctioned and injured you. Even a minor defect can cause a severe injury.
Even if your employer provided you with personal protective equipment, it may not protect you. For example, defective earplugs may cause people to lose their hearing.
If you suffered an injury due to construction machinery or any other defective product, you can sue the manufacturer or the dealer who sold it in a product liability case.
To win your case, you will need to prove:
- There was a design defect in the product that made the product unreasonably dangerous
- There was a manufacturing defect that made the product unsafe for its intended purposes
- There was a marketing defect, in which the manufacturer knew or should have known of a safety problem, and they did not pull the product from the market or warn users
Product defect cases can lead to huge settlements or jury awards because they often involve large companies.
Architect & Engineer Negligence
A worker’s safety often depends on the architect and engineers doing their jobs properly. They are the ones who design the structure, and they have their own obligations to use reasonable care in their jobs. They must meet professional standards and build safety codes in their work. The entire construction site may be at risk if they fail to perform their job.
An architect or engineer may provide faulty designs and blueprints for the structure. For example, the structure may not withstand more than a particular weight load and might collapse during construction.
The client may also make requests for changes during the construction process. The architect and engineers must review those changes to ensure they are safe and up to code. Injured construction workers can sue these professionals if their injuries were due to negligence.
There is much electrical work going on at a construction site. An electrical subcontractor may be on the site doing the wiring. The power company may have overhead wires in the vicinity.
While crews should usually disengage the overhead wires during construction work, these wires sometimes remain live. Contact with live electricity can cause permanent or fatal injuries and might lead to a fall from high places, causing even more catastrophic injuries.
In addition, buried utilities at a site can cause injuries. The owner, or another contractor, may need to locate these buried utilities and warn workers about them or properly mark the site. Sometimes, workers do not know where the buried utilities are, and they can suffer electrical injuries or fatal electrocution.
Electrocution is a serious accident that can cause death or severe injuries. Accident survivors can suffer serious burns or nerve damage if they survive the accident. They may permanently lose a limb or the use of it.
Any major construction site is a hub of activity. Many large trucks may be at or near the site at any given time. These trucks can perform functions like hauling the debris away or bringing construction materials to the site.
One of the most common vehicular accidents is when a worker is hit or run over by a large truck. The driver may not be familiar with the site or know how best to avoid crashes. Others can suffer injuries in vehicular accidents approaching or leaving the site. An accident with a large truck, even at a slow speed, can cause serious injuries.
Falls are the leading cause of construction injuries throughout the country. Roughly half of the country’s fall fatalities occur on construction sites.
Severe falls on a construction site can lead to the following injuries:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lacerations and serious cuts
- Internal injuries
Here are some of the common causes of fall accidents on construction sites:
- Poorly constructed scaffolding
- Debris or equipment left on walking paths
- Wiring that is not covered
- Slippery substances on a surface
- Lack of fall protection
- Poorly maintained or defective aerial lifts
Since numerous parties are working on a construction site, someone other than your employer can be responsible for your injuries.
Construction workers handle equipment and rip out old materials. They may cut building materials, or pieces may fall off during the construction. Debris may fall from heights and hit people below.
Debris falling is especially dangerous because an object picks up more speed and force as it falls. No matter what safety equipment you wear, you never have total protection from falling debris. Even those wearing hard hats suffered brain injuries when they were struck in the head by falling debris.
Falling debris endangers both construction workers and people in the area. If a contractor failed to properly secure the site, falling debris might hit passersby. In that event, they can sue the contractor for their injuries. Construction workers can be working on the floor below and hit by something falling from a higher floor.
Premises Liability Accidents
Construction workers may suffer injuries due to hazards at the site. For example, the site may have buried chemicals or other dangers. The site owner must remedy or warn about dangers they know about, but the contractors do not.
Workers may suffer injuries from exposure to toxic chemicals near the site. You can hold whoever supervised the toxic chemicals there liable for injuries and illnesses resulting from your exposure.
Subcontractor or General Contractor Negligence
You can sue for any accident involving someone other than your employer. Numerous contractors and subcontractors are on a construction site at any given time. You may have worked for a subcontractor and suffered an injury due to the general contractor’s negligence.
For example, you might have worked on masonry and stood on a scaffold the general contractor erected. If the scaffolding collapsed, and they negligently assembled it, you can sue the general contractor for your injuries.
When you have a third-party claim for a construction accident injury, you need an experienced construction worker to handle your case. Since so many companies have a role in a construction project, you may encounter a situation where everyone will always blame someone else for what happened.
Each potential defendant will do everything they can to escape their legal liability for your injuries. Not only will your attorney need to determine the responsible party, but they will also need to keep the legal pressure on them until you have recovered what you legally deserve for your injuries.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Construction Accident Case
You must meet your burden of proof to win your construction accident lawsuit. You will need to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence.
Here is how your lawyer can help you:
- Investigate your accident and help you determine whether there is a way to file a personal injury lawsuit, as opposed to filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Figure out the right responsible parties to sue in a third-party claim
- Gather the evidence that can either show negligence or that a product was defective
- Estimate the value of your case after reviewing your specific damages
- Work with expert witnesses to develop your claims and allegations in your complaint
- Draft the complaint that begins the legal process in your lawsuit
- Develop your case throughout the lawsuit by obtaining evidence in the discovery process
- Negotiate a settlement with the defendant(s) that will fully compensate you for your injuries
- Argue your case in court if you cannot reach an agreement before then
You must reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after you have suffered an injury. If you have to file for workers’ compensation benefits (and you should, even if you intend to file a lawsuit), you have a limited time to notify your employer of the injury.
Then, if you have a third-party claim, you must develop a strategy and prepare a legal case to file with an at-fault party’s insurance company or in court.
Any mistakes in this process can jeopardize your compensation. You need legal representation from an experienced construction accident attorney who will handle this entire process for you.
Construction accident cases are complex. They have a lot of moving pieces with many potential parties involved. You need to understand the relationship between multiple entities.
You also need to deal with insurance companies and potential corporate defendants. This is too much for anyone to handle on their own, let alone dealing with serious injuries. When you trust your case to a construction accident lawyer, they will handle all the details while fighting for total financial compensation.
Your construction accident lawyer will work with you on a contingency basis, making it easy for you to get the legal help you need. You do not need to worry about coming up with money for legal fees while your case is pending.
You do not need to stress about being left with a large bill to pay a lawyer if you do not win your case. How you pay is simple – your lawyer receives a part of your settlement or jury award if and when you receive one. Thus, financial worries do not need to overcome you and keep you from beginning the legal process.
Never Wait to Consult a Construction Accident Attorney
After a construction accident, you need medical treatment, might require hospitalization, and miss weeks or months of work. The last thing you need is to worry about properly seeking full compensation for your losses.
Help is only a phone call away when you have suffered an injury in a construction accident. Seek a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Golden State Lawyers, APC today.