Construction sites can be dangerous places. They’re often filled with heavy machinery, tools, and building materials that can all cause safety hazards to both workers and passersby. Personal injuries that occur on construction sites should be taken seriously, so read on to find answers to seven frequently asked questions that will help to clarify this area of personal injury law.
What Are the Most Common Construction Site Accidents?
According to OSHA, the leading causes of death to construction workers are falls, electrocutions, “caught-in” accidents, and “struck-by” accidents. However, other less fatal accidents are also common, including fires, explosions, machinery accidents, trench collapses, and vehicle collisions. These accidents can cause injuries ranging substantially in severity from minor bruises and lacerations to crushed bones, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, and even paralysis.
Who Is Legally Responsible for Construction Site Accidents?
The party or parties determined liable for a construction site accident may include property owners, general contractors, product or equipment manufacturers, and negligent third-party workers. When a construction worker is injured in any of these circumstances, he or she should be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance. Passersby will have to file claims with the construction firm or property owner’s liability insurance company.
Are Workers Eligible for More Than Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
In some circumstances, construction workers who have been injured on job sites can file third-party lawsuits against the liable party or parties as described above. Although workers’ compensation laws affect financial recovery against employers, they do not affect recovery from third parties.
What Damages Are Available?
Workers will always receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages related to their accidents. Workers and passersby who file personal injury lawsuits can also receive compensation for additional damages. These include total disability, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, scarring, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.
Can Passersby Be Compensated After Injuries Occurring on a Construction Site?
Property owners and construction contractors have a legal obligation to secure dangerous sites. If they have not placed adequate warning signs and put up barriers against entry, a passerby who has been injured on the site may be able to receive compensation.
When Should Injured Parties File a Claim or a Suit?
Workers’ compensation claims must be filed within 30 days of the injurious incident. However, the statute of limitations for third-party personal injury lawsuits is more lenient. In most cases, injured parties have up to three years to file suit, but it’s still best to take action as soon as possible.
Do Injured Parties Need a Lawyer?
While there is no legal requirement for those filing personal injury lawsuits to retain a lawyer, it is always a good idea to have legal representation. Determining who is at fault, evaluating the extent of damages, and negotiating settlements with insurance companies all require a level of legal expertise, the average consumer just doesn’t have. Most claimants receive larger benefits packages when they work with personal injury lawyers.
The Bottom Line
Recovering from an injury after a serious accident is always stressful, but filing a personal injury claim can help accident victims get the money they need to focus on healing. Determining liability and the extent of damages can be tough, so it’s always best to work with a lawyer who can evaluate the strength of his or her client’s case, answer questions, and explain available options.