Construction industry workers know that dangerous and even fatal accidents can occur even when every precaution is taken. However, the risk of injury greatly increases when one of the parties involved in ensuring construction site safety fails to do their due diligence.
Property owners, construction companies, and equipment manufacturers are obligated to meet safety regulations imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). When they fail, devastating accidents can occur as a result. According to OSHA, one in five worker deaths in 2017 were in the construction industry.
An injury or fatality resulting from negligence may entitle the injured party to compensation to cover medical bills, wage replacement, and other harms and losses. Whether you’ve sustained an injury as a construction worker or as a bystander, it’s important to protect yourself and your case by doing the following:
Obtain Medical Treatment
Immediately following the accident, seek help from a trusted medical institution. Waiting could increase the severity of your injuries. It could also give the responsible party a basis to claim that your injuries were not severe enough to warrant urgent medical attention, thus undermining your case. Seeking immediate medical treatment is an important step of documenting your claim.
Report the Accident to Your Employer
If you were working on the construction site, the next step is to alert your employer. This is important for three main reasons:
- The sooner you submit a report, the more detailed and accurate it will be. An exhaustive report will only bolster your case.
- All employers are required to report workplace injuries to OSHA or to the relevant state occupational safety and health program within 24 hours. This additional source of recordkeeping could also be helpful to your case.
- Informing your employer allows them to take measures to prevent further accidents.
Be sure to keep your own records of everything you report, and attempt to avoid discussing any legal-related matters until you have had a chance to contact a lawyer for guidance.
Consider Consulting a Construction Accident Lawyer
Due to the complexity of construction accident injury cases, no two are identical. There is no boilerplate approach that defines how the injured party should proceed. Your construction accident lawyer will take your specific circumstances into account and help you navigate these common challenges in the ways that best suit your case:
- With multiple parties involved, liability can be difficult to determine. Every party involved in a construction project has a set of obligations to fulfill to protect workers and passersby. Sometimes those obligations overlap; for example, manufacturers must ensure that their equipment is safe to use, but employers must ensure that their employees are trained to safely operate it. There may also be multiple vendors or companies working on a construction site at once, which can complicate liability. The confusion over who is at fault can be wielded by the various parties and their insurance providers to subvert your personal injury case and deflect responsibility.
- Pursuing legal action can strain your relationship with your employer. The financial and legal stakes are high for both you and your employer after a construction site accident. If you were a bystander, you wouldn’t necessarily need to fear a tenuous relationship with the at-fault party. But when those who are legally responsible hold your livelihood in their hands, you may fear retaliation or be hesitant to demand documents you need to support your case. Although the law prohibits these kinds of retaliative actions, employers sometimes find ways to indirectly “punish” employees who pursue action against an employer for a construction site accident claim. A construction accident lawyer will protect your rights regardless of how you choose to proceed.
- Many cases are complicated by workers’ compensation coverage, employer policies, and industry regulations. Texas is one of very few states that do not require workers’ compensation coverage. If your employer does happen to possess workers’ compensation coverage, the policy can limit the legal action you are allowed to pursue. A construction accident lawyer will advise you on how to proceed with or without workers’ comp insurance. Your lawyer will also understand the intricacies of how industry regulations and company policies impact your employer’s responsibility.
Understand Your Rights in a Construction Accident Injury Case
If you have been injured in a construction site accident, you have every right to pursue compensation. Even if you ultimately decide not to take legal action, a free, no-commitment evaluation can help you understand your options. However you decide to proceed, it’s important to arm yourself with information that will allow you to protect your interests. Contact us to schedule a no-cost consultation and receive the advice, resources, and support you need.