San Jose Construction Accident Lawyer
In order to ensure that no one gets hurt on the job, construction workers depend on their co-workers and other contractors to observe safety protocols. They rely on the construction and heavy equipment necessary for the job to be in good working condition. They trust the plans for the project have been prepared by qualified, careful, and knowledgeable architects and engineers. Simply put, construction workers need everyone that they work with and for to follow the rules and do their jobs well. Any failure, no matter how small, may create an unacceptable risk of harm and injury.
An accident at a construction site may cause catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death, leaving victims burdened by physical, emotional, and financial stress. The cost of medical care, lost wages, loss of income, and pain and suffering may be overwhelming for an injured worker or their families.
If you have been injured on a construction site, you should know that you may be eligible for more than workers’ compensation recovery. Learn if your case may qualify for additional damages by speaking to a construction accident lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose are experienced in construction accident cases, and have helped victims and their loved ones recover the damages caused by someone else’s negligence. We have successfully negotiated fair settlements, and when necessary, litigated the claims of our clients to ensure they get the best possible outcome for their case.
Contact Bohn & Fletcher at (408) 279-4222 or online today and schedule a free consultation to learn if we may be able to help you.
Common Causes of Construction Accidents and Injuries
Anyone who has ever worn a hard hat knows that construction sites are full of potentially dangerous hazards. However, that does not mean that injuries are inevitable. With proper care and precautions, construction sites can be safe workplaces.
Construction accidents can happen when parties act negligently or recklessly. Some of the most common causes of construction accidents include but are not limited to:
- Failure to follow safety protocols: Federal, state, and local laws and regulations, collective bargaining agreements, and accepted construction industry practices provide minimum standards for safety checks, equipment, and procedures. All parties involved in construction projects, from companies to site supervisors to contractors, must follow all prescribed safety protocols to maintain a safe environment for workers and the public. When someone ignores or forgets to follow the rules, accidents may happen—and construction workers often pay the price.
- Misuse of toxic substances: Construction workers often must work with hazardous substances and materials: All toxic substances require adequate warnings of the risks, sufficient protective equipment, and advance worker training before use in order to minimize the risks to workers and others. The failure to use toxic substances safely may cause accidents and injuries.
- Defective equipment: Construction equipment is often very powerful with the ability to inflict severe harm. When that equipment fails because of a design or manufacture defect, or lacks adequate warnings about its dangers, construction workers may suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries from resulting accidents.
- Professional malpractice: Behind every construction project is a team of architects and engineers whose designs construction workers must follow. Sometimes those professionals are negligent and make mistakes, planning a structure or other project that has a structural flaw that puts workers at risk of a collapse or other devastating accident.
The scenarios above are just some of the possible causes of a construction accident. Regardless of whether you have been injured in circumstances such as these or something very different, an experienced construction accident attorney may be able to help protect your rights and recover your damages.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
Every construction project is different, which means the risks construction workers face on a work site may differ from one project to the next. However, there are common types of construction accidents that frequently cause injuries, including:
- High-height falls (for example, falling from scaffolding or a ladder);
- Being struck by falling debris, tools, or materials
- Structural failures and collapses
- Accidents involving heavy machinery, such as cranes, earth-movers, and forklifts
- Fires and explosions during use of combustible materials
- Accidentally cutting or damaging pipes, conduits, and live electrical wires
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials
The list of accidents here is not exhaustive, so even if you have experienced an unusual accident, speak to a lawyer to discuss your potential claims.
Common Injuries from Construction Accidents
The common hazards that confront workers on construction sites have the potential to lead to accidents that may cause devastating harm. Construction equipment is heavy and powerful. Workers must often do their jobs high above the ground. Structures and piles of debris may be unstable. Paints, coatings, and building materials may have highly toxic components. In other words, if something goes even a little bit awry on a construction site, there may be very big ramifications.
Construction accidents may result in the wrongful death of a worker. In cases where a worker survives their accident, they may still suffer debilitating injuries with all of the accompanying pain, discomfort, and treatment that may require. Common construction accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries including partial or total paralysis;
- Traumatic brain injuries causing permanent cognitive or motor deficits;
- Crushed and/or traumatically-amputated limbs resulting in permanent disabilities;
- Second and third degree burns from fires, chemicals, or electrocution;
- Lacerations that leave disfiguring scars;
- Organ damage and internal bleeding; and
- Long-term illness from exposure to dangerous substances, materials, and conditions.
If you have suffered injuries like those listed, or other injuries, because of your construction accident, contact the legal team at Bohn & Fletcher. No case is too complicated or unusual for us to handle.
Three Important Steps to Take After a Construction Accident
When a construction accident happens, there are steps a worker or their survivors can take to help protect their legal rights and recover damages for their injuries. Three of the most important things a victim can do include:
1. Report the Accident
It is not unusual for an injured worker to worry that reporting their accident will place their job at risk. They may also fear being blamed for the accident, regardless of the facts, or they may want to avoid getting a reputation as a “troublemaker.” Some victims may feel loyalty to their employer and decide reporting could endanger the business, or cause financial stress to the detriment of co-workers and others.
Any number of concerns may cause an injured worker to not report their accident. However, it is imperative for any worker who has been injured on the job to report their accident and injury without delay. Under California law, failure to report a worksite accident may put a worker’s right to workers’ compensation benefits at risk. In addition, the failure to report and establish the necessary documentation may make it much more difficult to later prove the cause, nature, and extent of damages suffered by the victim.
In cases where litigation becomes necessary, the accident report may be critically important evidence. This may be particularly true when the report includes contemporaneous statements from the victim and witnesses, recorded before their memories have the chance to fade.
2. Seek Appropriate Medical Attention
If a worker is involved in an accident they must get prompt medical attention, even if they initially believe they are not injured, or are not injured seriously. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, may take hours or days to fully manifest but may cause irreparable damage before they are discovered. In cases where the injuries are clearly serious and/or life-threatening, emergency care is imperative. There should be no hesitation in calling 911 for transportation of the victim to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Medical records are necessary for filing a workers’ compensation claim. They may also become crucial evidence in cases where disputes emerge or later claims for damages must be made. Therefore, an accident victim who is able to make decisions about their own medical care should seek treatment from a medical provider approved by their employer under its workers’ compensation insurance. If the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, or the victim is an independent contractor, they should see their primary care doctor.
In all cases, medical attention may help protect a victim’s life and health, and will create the necessary records of when and how the injuries occurred in support of any eventual claims.
3. Talk to an Experienced San Jose Construction Accident Lawyer
As soon as possible, schedule a free case review with an experienced construction accident attorney who can evaluate the facts of the case and determine all potential claims.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, don’t wait to talk to a lawyer. Key evidence may become lost with the passage of time, and a complete investigation may become more difficult to complete. Additionally, if you are suffering from physical, emotional, and/or financial injuries caused by your accident you should not have to fight alone against the insurance companies or parties responsible for your injuries. The sooner you get legal help, the stronger your case and the better your outcomes may be.
Potential Compensation for Construction Accident Injury/Loss
Victims of a construction accident may wonder how much their injuries are “worth,” while survivors of wrongful death may rightfully believe that no monetary compensation can equal their loss. When damages include both economic and non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering or the loss of a loved one’s companionship, the value of the claims will depend on many factors, including:
- How the injuries or wrongful death occurred;
- The severity and duration of the injuries;
- The victim’s age, health, and life expectancy at the time of the accident;
- The type of job the victim was doing at the time of the accident;
- The victim’s future job prospects before and after the accident; and
- The real cost of past medical care and the anticipated cost of future medical care and long-term treatment.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Every employer in California must carry workers’ compensation insurance, and if a worker in the state suffers an injury or wrongful death from a construction accident—and their employer is at fault—there is a chance that their only source of compensation will be workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance may cover medical care, temporary and permanent disability benefits, supplemental job replacement benefits, and, in cases involving a fatality, wrongful death benefits for survivors.
This said, a victim may have the right to take legal action seeking damages in addition to or instead of workers’ compensation benefits in certain situations. This remedy may apply when someone other than the worker’s employer was responsible for causing the accident, when the employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance, or when the employer engaged in intentional misconduct causing the injuries or wrongful death. An experienced construction accident attorney will be able to help a victim understand their rights, and all of their available options.
Damages When Legal Action Is Necessary
When a victim of a construction accident has the right to take legal action instead of (or in addition to) seeking workers’ compensation benefits, their compensable damages may include:
- Medical bills, medications, and the cost of any ongoing medical treatment;
- Compensation for wages lost during recovery;
- Loss of income for a victim who suffered permanent injuries or death;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium or companionship; and
- Punitive damages in cases involving malice, oppression, or fraud.
Fees and Results
The legal team at Bohn & Fletcher has recovered millions of dollars in settlements and judgments on behalf of our clients. One of our cases resulted in a $7.5 million verdict for a client who had suffered severe burns in a construction accident. While past results are not a guarantee for future cases, our record of success shows our tireless commitment to work for the best possible outcomes for every case.
Potential clients sometimes worry they cannot afford legal representation. However, Bohn & Fletcher represents our clients on a contingent fee basis. This means the cost of litigation and attorney’s fees are not paid by a client upfront, but instead are covered by any settlement or judgment that may ultimately be received in the case. If there is not recovery there is no fee or cost to our client. We believe it is critically important for everyone to have access to justice, regardless of their current financial circumstances, so don’t let anxiety about the cost of a lawyer stop you from getting the legal help you need and deserve.
San Jose Construction Accident FAQs
Clients who have been hurt on the job often have lots of questions. Some frequently asked questions are answered here, but if your question is not listed please contact us. We will try to answer any question you may have about your construction accident and injuries.
Is workers’ compensation the only way for a construction accident victim to recover damages for injuries or a wrongful death?
No. There is a common misconception that the only type of claim a victim can file after a construction accident is a workers’ compensation claim. While this may often be true, it is not always true. Workers’ compensation insurance limits a victim’s ability to seek damages from their employer in many cases. However, if someone other than the employer was responsible for causing the accident, intentional acts or omissions by the employer caused the accident, or the employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance as required under California law, a victim may have the right to take legal action for damages in addition to their workers’ compensation benefits. Talk to an experienced San Jose construction accident attorney to help you understand your rights.
What is the difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim? Does it really matter whether I pursue one or the other?
There is a difference between a workers’ compensation claim and personal injury claims, and which one a victim pursues does make a difference. Workers’ compensation insurance benefits are limited. They may pay for medical expenses, temporary and permanent disability, supplemental job training and, in the case of a fatality, wrongful death benefits to survivors. A personal injury claim may allow a victim to recover greater damages that actually cover all of the economic and non-economic losses suffered because of the construction accident.
Can I sue my employer after a construction accident if they don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance?
If an employer is otherwise legally responsible for a victim’s accident and injuries they may be sued if they did not carry workers’ compensation insurance as required by law. In these cases, a victim may be entitled to seek damages from their employer by filing a personal injury lawsuit in state or federal court.
Other than my employer, who else might be responsible for paying my damages if I was injured in a construction accident?
There may be multiple parties with legal liability for a victim’s damages. For example, if construction equipment failed, the manufacturer of the equipment may have liability. If a structure collapsed, the architects or engineers of the project may have liability. In cases of dangerously toxic materials, manufacturers, suppliers, or others may have liability.
I’m an independent contractor and I was injured on a construction job. Can I sue someone for my injuries?
Depending on the circumstances of the case, an independent contractor who is a victim may be able to pursue personal injury claims. Independent contractors do not have access to (and therefore are not limited by) workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, they may be able to seek damages from any party whose negligence or wrongful actions caused their injuries, such as the project owner, other contractors, equipment manufacturers, or engineering professionals.
Get Help from a San Jose Construction Injury Lawyer
Recovering from a construction accident can be very difficult. If you have been injured in a construction accident, or a loved one has been injured or killed because of the negligence or recklessness of someone else, speak to an experienced construction accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss possible personal injury or wrongful death claims. The right legal help may be able to ensure you have the ability to move forward with your life. Contact the legal team at Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose at (408) 279-4222 or online today and schedule a free consultation to learn if we may be able to help you. Our team has the resources and necessary experience to provide our clients with the peace of mind they most need to recover.