Construction sites are dangerous places to work. Construction workers have to face hazards every single day. Examples of such are; heavy equipment, high voltage electricity, elevation hazards, crane accidents, slip and fall hazards, and high-risk material.
The fatal injury rate of workers in the construction industry is much higher than any other industry. Getting injured on a construction site is a rather traumatic experience. It happens even on construction sites that have safety guidelines in place.
If you have been injured on the construction site or are worried about what to do if you get injured, here is a guide to some crucial steps to follow:
Seek Medical Help
Immediately after a construction accident, it is critical to seek medical attention first. Call 911 or get a co-worker to call for you. Do not delay, as some injuries may look minor but become more serious later. For example, a minor head injury could be a subtle sign of a more serious head injury, like a concussion.
Prompt medical care and treatment are critical for proper diagnosis and recovery from injuries. If you are working for a correctly run construction business, there is an on-site doctor who can examine and assess your damages. You may also be eligible for free medical insurance coverage through which you can make a medical claim.
If on a proper contract, you are entitled to compensation from the said medical insurance to recuperate and recover from your injuries. If you are not on contract and are a freelancer, secure an alternative income source or ask friends and family for help.
Document all medical treatment and tests because this will help your case when applying for a worker’s compensation claim to cover medical bills.
Report the Accident
After addressing immediate health concerns, it is now crucial to report the incident. Report the accident as soon as possible to a supervisor, foreman, or whoever else is in charge of the construction site.
Have a detailed record of the date/ time of the accident and the name/position of the one who received the report. Some workers skip this step because they are afraid of losing their jobs. Some construction companies do not want construction site accidents reported, making them look like they have poor safety protocols.
Some companies also do not report accidents because this will lead to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations and their penalties. Many construction workers are not legal residents and fear reporting accidents, as they may lose their immigration status.
It is critically important to report accidents because:
- It documents the accident, making your claim more valid in the eyes of the court, insurance company, and your employer.
- You avoid missing any crucial details when obtaining compensation for injuries with the help of a legal expert.
- It puts a notice of unsafe areas on the construction site so that construction workers are aware of it to avoid getting injured also. It also gives employers a chance to review and revisit the safety protocol on the site.
To be properly compensated, you need to have gathered as much information as possible about the construction site accident. Write a detailed report recording the exact nature of the injury, the time the accident happened, and eyewitness testimonies.
Get a record of the eyewitness contact information and their testimony. Some eyewitnesses may refuse to cooperate. However, do not pressure them to give information; let your attorney contact them later to gather the required information.
Take photographs of the scene where the accident happened as evidence. Take pictures of injuries, damage to clothing, and other property. For example, some photos may show a lack of safety equipment, safety guidelines, or an unsafe environment on the construction site.
Keep Medical Records
Construction accidents usually result in serious injuries meaning ongoing treatment, medication, and medical care costs. Medical bills may pile up, leading to emotional turmoil and stress.
It is necessary to keep records of the names of doctors, dates of service, prescribed medication, tests, and treatment. Documentation of ongoing medical expenses and medical bills will you get the compensation you deserve for lost wages and income, pain and suffering, and medical care.
Once you have gathered strong evidence working in your favor, you have a good chance of succeeding when looking to make a financial claim.
Claim Workers Compensation Benefits
You have the right to claim fair worker’s compensation benefits, to recover from work-related injuries sustained from a construction site accident. There are two types of claims worker’s compensation and personal injury lawsuit claim.
Worker’s compensation pays for loss of income and medical expenses due to on-the-job injury. At times the worker’s compensation insurance may not be possible, so one may need to file a personal injury claim lawsuit. This involves enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer to chase after the party that is at fault to get a compensation settlement for your injuries.
You have the right to a worker’s compensation as an employee if:
- You sustained your injuries during working hours.
- The work injury is not due to your drug or alcohol impairment or misconduct.
- Your employer is enrolled in worker’s compensation insurance.
Construction companies are all about insurance companies who want to reduce what they offer. Employers in most USA states must have worker’s compensation insurance before hiring anyone to work for them.
This means it is highly likely that your employer already has this type of insurance. When your employer asks you to fill out worker compensation forms, it is highly advisable to have a personal injury lawyer present before signing any documents.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
To protect your rights and to ensure you safely recover from injuries, follow all the steps above and seek the help of an experienced, reliable legal expert. An experienced lawyer understands complex worker compensation laws in construction site accidents.
It is crucial to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the construction accident happens. This ensures you have the help you need to negotiate a fair compensation settlement.
File an Appeal
Hopefully, this step will not be necessary. Just because a personal injury lawsuit was unsuccessful or worker’s compensation was denied does not mean you cannot still recover for damage. With the help of a qualified, experienced attorney, one can file for an appeal.
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