Construction workers are exposed to an almost endless number of potential risks every day. They may be working with heavy equipment on busy worksites, sometimes while climbing scaffolding and ladders or working around other contractors’ equipment.
To add to the many risks, there are times when employers might be more interested in completing projects than protecting their workers. In the rush to the deadline, mistakes are made or corners are cut, and someone gets hurt.
What happens next for the injured person and his or her family?
Unfortunately, when a construction worker is hurt on the job, employers and insurance companies will immediately start taking steps to limit how much they might eventually have to pay. That means that construction workers need to take a few steps to protect themselves after they are hurt, even when they believe that their employers will take care of them.
Four Steps to Take If You're Hurt on a Construction Site
Although there are laws, rules, and regulations meant to protect construction workers before and after they're hurt, making sense of all the rights and responsibilities involved can be overwhelming. Honestly, it’s even confusing for other attorneys who don’t have a lot of experience with construction accident cases.
If you're a construction worker who's been hurt at work, here are the most crucial steps you can take to protect yourself:
1. See a doctor. Protecting your health is the priority. If you aren’t immediately transported to the emergency room, make sure you still see a doctor and get checked out. If you're initially seen by a company doctor or someone chosen by your employer, make arrangements to also see a doctor of your choosing. Follow your doctor’s instructions, and follow up as recommended. If you're having trouble getting medical care for your work injuries, speak with an attorney who has specific experience helping injured construction workers in your area.
2. Report your injury. Tell your higher-ups you've been hurt, and complete an incident report. Include information about how, when, and where the accident happened. List all the medical issues caused by the accident, even if they seem minor. Stick to the facts. Ask an attorney for help if the documents you’re asked to fill out are complex or you aren’t sure what you're signing because, in some cases, you can accidentally sign away all your rights. Be sure to ask for a copy of the accident report and any other documentation for your own records.
3. Take photographs and notes. Your employer and the insurance company will immediately start investigating and documenting after an accident, and so should you. Take pictures of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and the worksite. Write down everything you remember about what happened, including as many specific details as possible. Keep copies of any communication you receive from your employer, your doctors, workers’ compensation, or the insurance company.
4. Talk to an experienced attorney. There can be a lot of challenges in construction accident cases. To get answers and learn more about your rights, you can meet with an attorney, usually without charge or obligation. This can be helpful when your injuries are severe or complicated, or if you or your family isn't getting the necessary help.
Remember: going after the full amount of compensation you deserve is an important way to pay for your medical treatment, and make sure you and your family are provided for.
Get Answers About Your Rights After a Construction Accident
If you're not covered by workers’ compensation, or if you aren’t getting the help you need, then take steps to investigate your rights. Keep in mind that you may also have a claim against a third party, such as a contractor or architect, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Do you need help? McGartland Law has a strong history of helping injured workers get answers, fight for compensation, and move on with their lives. Call our law firm today to set up a free, no-obligation case review, and start investigating your rights with an experienced guide.