Construction sites often contain building materials, tools, and heavy machinery that pose a danger to workers and passersby if stored or used incorrectly. When accidents occur on construction sites, serious injuries and even death can result.
If you were injured, or lost a loved one, in a construction site accident, you may have questions about your legal rights and eligibility for compensation.
Fortunately, McGartland Law Firm has the answers to these and other questions our clients frequently ask after a construction accident.
Q: What are the most common construction accidents and injuries?
A: Common construction accidents include fires and explosions, overexertion, vehicle collisions, machinery accidents, and trench collapses. These accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, including bruises, lacerations, broken or crushed bones, joint injuries, amputations, vision or hearing loss, loss of the eyes themselves, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, respiratory illnesses, repetitive motion injuries, mental and emotional disorders, and death.
However, the leading causes of death on construction sites are falls, electrocutions, struck-by-object incidents, and "caught-in" or "between" accidents, which the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration refers to as the "construction fatal four."
Q: Who's liable for my injuries after a construction accident?
A: Construction projects often involve employees from a number of different companies working side by side, which can make it difficult to determine liability after an accident. Potentially liable parties can include property owners or general contractors who fail to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the construction site; the manufacturers of defective products or equipment; or negligent third-party workers. An experienced construction accident attorney can help their client make sense of complex liability issues.
Q: If I was injured on the job, is workers' compensation my only option for recovery?
A: Not always. While workers' compensation is a fast, no-fault program that can provide compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, it isn't available to all Texas workers, and offers somewhat limited benefits. However, if a worker's injuries were caused by third-party, rather than employer, negligence, he or she may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and pursue a wider range of damages.
Q: How long do I have to file a workers' compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit?
A: In order to be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, construction workers must notify their employers of the accident and resulting injuries within 30 days, and file a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance's Division of Workers' Compensation within one year. However, after an accident, injured construction workers have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Q: Can I seek compensation if I was injured while walking through an unsecured construction site?
A: Possibly. Property owners and general contractors are obligated to secure dangerous construction sites to prevent accidents and injuries. If site owners or contractors failed to put up barriers or warning signs, they could be potentially liable for the accidents and injuries that occur as a result.
Q: What potential damages are available in construction accident cases?
A: Workers' compensation benefits cover accident-related medical expenses and wages lost during the recovery period. However, injured construction workers who file personal injury lawsuits can pursue compensation for additional damages, such as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring or disfigurement, total disability, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Q: Do I need to hire a construction accident attorney? What if I can't afford one?
A: Construction site accidents involve a number of complex legal issues. Hiring a knowledgeable construction accident attorney is the best way for an injured worker to protect his or her interests. Often, personal injury attorneys who handle construction accident cases work on a contingency basis. This means they don't collect a fee unless or until their client receives a settlement.
Q: How can I get a free consultation with an experienced construction accident attorney?
A: McGartland Law Firm offers no-cost, no-obligation initial consultations. If you were injured in a construction site accident, contact McGartland Law Firm to today to schedule your free case analysis.