Are There Typical Construction Site Injuries?
Any severe injury sustained on a construction site can put a worker out of work for an extended period of time. While there are many different types, some of the more common injuries following a construction site accident include:
- Burns due to a fire or explosion or from exposed wiring or dangerous chemicals
- Head injuries, particularly when a hard hat is not worn on the construction site
- Spinal cord injuries from a fall
- Cuts due to defective tools, exposed nails, poorly maintained tools or unsecured machinery
- Crushed or broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Significant hearing loss due to jackhammers and other loud equipment on the construction site
- Repetitive motion injuries from constant lifting or bending in the same way
- Heat stroke from overexertion in the hot summer months
- Loss of vision due to hazardous materials on the construction job site
A construction accident can severely limit the way you lead your life and your entire future. For this reason, you need a solid legal advocate in your corner who can help you determine who is responsible for your construction accident injury, then ensure you receive equitable compensation from that person or entity.
Who Is Liable For My Construction Accident Injuries?
Construction accidents can be very complex. Some may think that all construction accident injuries would be covered under California workers’ compensation laws. However, many construction workers are what is known as “independent contractors,” which can greatly diminish their legal rights and the legal remedies available to them. There may also be a third party who is responsible for the construction accident.
It generally requires an experienced construction attorney to sort out who is liable for the accident and resulting injuries. Regarding independent contractors, it will be necessary to know how the worker was hired for the job, the nature of the work being completed and who was directing the worker for this work.
Since many construction accidents are attributed to heavy machinery, there could have been a flaw in that machinery that led to the accident, meaning a products liability claim would be filed.
In this case, the manufacturer of the machinery could be liable for the accident and resulting injuries. The owner of the property could be held liable if he or she was aware of dangerous issues on the site, yet failed to do anything about those issues. In the same way, the construction foreman could be held liable if he or she was aware of serious safety issues, yet failed to take action.
You may also be able to file a wrongful death claim if your loved one was killed in a construction accident, due to the negligence of another.
Is There A Difference Between Workers’ Compensation And A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Most people think workers’ comp will completely cover their injuries and lost wages, however, this is not true. Workers’ comp payments, which replace your regular earnings, are strictly limited to two-thirds of your regular salary and are also restricted timewise. Medical benefits under California workers’ comp have also been reduced, most particularly physical and occupational therapy expenses and chiropractic care have been cut.
Vocational therapy has been eliminated under California workers’ comp. A civil lawsuit, on the other hand, is more likely to pay for all your medical expenses and lost wages. The best course of action for you will be filing quickly for your relatively meager workers’ comp benefits and then filing a civil lawsuit. This will ensure that your medical expenses and lost wages are fully covered.
What Damages Am I Able To Collect?
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, as well as the extent of your injuries, you may be able to recover medical expenses, including your hospital and emergency room expenses, prescription drug expenses, physician expenses and any rehabilitative therapy expenses.
You may be entitled to recover lost wages for the past, present and future. If you are never able to return to work, you could be entitled to recover for permanent lost wages. Perhaps you suffer from chronic pain following your construction accident. If so, you might be entitled to pain and suffering damages. Noneconomic damages could include emotional distress or loss of consortium. If your accident was the result of malicious or willful negligence, you could also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the guilty party, as well as to deter others from engaging in the same type of willful, negligent behaviors.
When Do I Have To File My Claim For A Construction Accident?
You have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim, or you will be forever barred from doing so. There are a few exceptions, including:
- A minor, injured on a construction site, will have two years from his or her 18th birthday to file a claim for damages
- A victim who is mentally or physically incapacitated may have a longer time to file a claim
- If the injury did not manifest until after the accident occurred, the victim may have two years from the time the injury became known
Government Exceptions To The Statute Of Limitations
If the construction accident occurred on government-owned and -operated property, a claim must be filed with the agency in question within six months. If the claim is denied, then you have the “normal” two-year statute of limitations to file your claim.
How Will Hiring An Attorney Help Me?
Construction site accidents can be very complex, requiring the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. It is likely that every party involved will attempt to avoid responsibility for your injuries, and without a highly skilled attorney, you could find yourself suffering for years with no compensation.