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Worker Rights and Protections After a Construction Accident

If you or a loved one suffers an injury in a construction accident in Texas, it is important to understand your rights as an injured worker. Otherwise, you could be taken advantage of by your employer or an insurance company, which could lead to you failing to receive the compensation that you need to move forward from your accident.

Understanding and protecting your legal rights after a construction accident may take assistance from an experienced work injury lawyer in Austin at FVF Law Firm. If you’ve sustained injuries in a construction accident and feel uncertain about your rights and the next actions to take, our attorneys are here to address all your questions and guide you through the process.

What to Do After a Construction Accident in Texas

Construction accidents can be confusing and overwhelming. You may have suffered a serious and painful injury, and you may not know where to turn for answers or accountability. If you can, take the following steps to protect yourself:

  1. Get medical care. Do not delay in seeking treatment for your injuries. A lack of prompt medical care could give an insurance company a reason to deny your claim.
  2. Report the accident. Tell your employer about the construction accident as soon as possible, but at least within at least 30 days. This is the reporting deadline for a workers’ compensation claim.
  3. Document everything. Write down the names of everyone involved, including any witnesses. Keep copies of your medical records and accident reports.
  4. Take pictures. If you can, take photographs before you leave the scene of your construction accident. Include pictures of the dangerous object or element.
  5. Contact an attorney. Discuss taking legal action with a lawyer at FVF Law Firm. Our attorneys can give you honest advice about how to protect your rights as an injured construction worker.

Do not accept a settlement from an insurer until you have talked to an attorney. Once you say yes to a settlement, you cannot reopen your case or renegotiate for a higher amount. A construction accident lawyer in Texas can review your case and provide sound legal advice.

Employer’s Responsibility in the Construction Industry

More workers die in the construction industry than any other in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 2020, workers in construction occupations (along with transportation, material moving and extraction) made up almost half of all fatal occupational injuries in the country. Construction and extraction occupations accounted for 976 workplace deaths in 2020.

The high risk of worker injury stems from factors such as dangerous construction sites, equipment and machinery malfunctions, and poor worker training. Employers in the construction industry have a legal responsibility to take certain steps to reduce the risk of worker injuries and fatalities.

An employer’s responsibilities include obeying federal safety standards, properly training workers, providing personal protective equipment to employees and ensuring a safe premises. If an employer fails to meet this responsibility, the company could be held financially accountable (liable) for a related accident.

Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Construction Accident

Texas is the only state that does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, many employers and construction companies in Texas still carry this type of insurance to protect themselves from liability for worker injuries, illnesses and deaths on the job.

Under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, employers can provide insurance benefits to qualifying employees for injuries that arise within the course or scope of their employment. They are no-fault benefits, meaning the worker does not have to prove that someone else was at fault or negligent in causing the accident to collect financial compensation.

A workers’ comp claim could result in financial benefits that partially cover an injured employee’s lost wages, full medical costs, temporary or permanent disability, and death benefits for a worker’s family after a fatal accident. To qualify for workers’ comp, a construction worker must notify an employer of an injury or illness within 30 days.

When Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Workers’ compensation is often the simplest way to collect financial compensation for a construction accident in Texas. However, this may not be the only option (or the right choice) for certain victims.

If one or more parties was negligent, meaning they failed to act with an ordinary amount of care, and this contributed to the accident, the worker may be able to receive greater compensation through a personal injury claim. For example, a personal injury claim could pay a victim for his or her full lost wages rather than the two-thirds covered by workers’ comp.

An injury lawsuit could also pay for pain and suffering. However, the victim will have to prove negligence to qualify for these damages. To prove negligence, it must be demonstrated using evidence that a defendant owed the victim a duty to use proper care, breached or violated this duty, and caused the construction accident.

Should I File a Lawsuit Against My Employer for a Construction Accident?

It may be possible to file a lawsuit against an employer or construction company in Texas for a construction accident if there is proof of negligence, such as a violation of an OSHA regulation. Common examples include a lack of safety gear, poorly constructed scaffolding, faulty guardrail systems and improper worker training.

Before you accept a workers’ compensation claim for a construction accident in Texas, consult with a personal injury lawyer about a potential negligence claim. Once you accept a settlement and sign a release form, you give up your right to sue your employer for causing or significantly contributing to your injuries.

An attorney can help you determine if your employer was negligent and if filing a lawsuit is the right option. If someone other than your employer caused the accident, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of construction equipment, you may have grounds to seek damages through both a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury lawsuit.

Protect Your Rights With Help From FVF Law Firm

As a construction worker in Texas, you have the right to a safe workplace that is free from injury risks and hazards. Your employer has a legal obligation to follow safety laws and take steps to protect workers from potential causes of injury. If these rules are broken and you are injured as a result, you may qualify for compensation.

If you have been injured at a construction site in Texas, protect your rights during the recovery process by hiring an attorney at FVF Law Firm. We have more than 100 years of combined experience advocating for injured victims. We can help you understand your options and rights during this difficult time. Call (512) 640-2146 today for a free consultation.

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Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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