Construction sites can be very dangerous not only to the people working on the site but also to people visiting the site or walking by. Construction accidents can result in a variety of severe and sometimes permanent disabilities such as
- loss of a limbs,
- partial or complete blindness,
- nerve damage and paralysis,
- traumatic head injuries,
- broken or fractured bones,
- amputations, and even
- wrongful death.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, your rights depend upon whether you were a bystander or a worker at the site. When you are injured as a bystander, normal personal injury law applies and the parties at fault are responsible for paying for your damages. The situation is more complex if you are an employee at the construction site. Other factors are involved in worker cases such as specific legal requirements for claims against employers and workers compensation law. Skilled and experienced legal representation is vital so that injured workers get the compensation that the law entitles them to receive.
Construction is one of the most dangerous occupation sectors in the country. It is consistently in the top of the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists for most fatalities and injuries. One out of six worker fatalities occurs in construction. There is a wide array of accidents that can occur on a construction site. Some of these include:
- Heavy equipment malfunctions
- Nail gun accidents
- Scaffold accidents/Falls
- Highway construction accidents
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Electrical accidents
- Forklift accidents
- Open pits and trenches
- Bystander accidents
Most construction workers are aware that should they suffer injury on the job, they can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This is one source of compensation available to the injured worker under the California Workers’ Compensation Act. An employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if they were partially or completely at fault for their injuries at work. Medical treatment can be extremely expensive, not to mention the loss of wages due to the disability or injury. Yet workers’ compensation often does not sufficiently cover the damages suffered by the worker. And except for very specific circumstances, an injured employee cannot sue their employer for negligence. In these cases the injured worker should consider pursuing a case for damages against any liable third party.
In a third-party suit, the worker can recover damages in the form of lost wages, impairment of earning capacity, medical costs, future medical costs, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. However, the burden of these cases is that the negligence of the third party must be proven by the injured individual. Third-party claims can result in substantially greater compensation than what an injured worker receives through workers’ compensation. It is not always easy to determine who is responsible for a construction accident. A construction project typically involves many different companies, people, and products. Property owners, multiple contractors and subcontractors, architects and engineers all bear a responsibility for providing a safe work environment at a construction site. Equipment manufacturers and suppliers also have a duty to supply safe equipment and materials.
When trying to determine liability your lawyer must have an understanding of all relevant federal, state, and OSHA laws and regulations governing construction sites. An investigation should be initiated as soon as possible. The site should be quarantined from the public to preserve all potential evidence. It is critical that the site is investigated before anything can be moved or changed by other workers or the weather. At times, it has even been necessary to obtain court orders to preserve the evidence. In addition, it is important to get statements from any possible witnesses and identify all the contractors, subcontractors, and even the material suppliers. Right after contacting an attorney, it is very helpful to contact OSHA as well as local authorities.
The attorneys at Custodio & Dubey have been helping those seriously injured in construction site accidents for over ten years. Their skill and experience with construction accidents is unparalleled and their knowledge and relationships with insurance carriers enables them to pursue the maximum compensation for their clients efficiently and effectively. Call them toll free at (213) 785-2909 for a free consultation of your case, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. You can also fill out our online consultation form and an attorney will contact you as soon as possible.