Despite numerous regulations and safety protocols, an estimated 1 out of 50 construction workers are injured on the job. Falling from a height, getting electrocuted, becoming entangled in equipment, tripping, being exposed to dangerous chemicals, and suffering muscle strains are just some of the ways workers can get hurt. Speaking with a construction accident lawyer is the best way to maximize your compensation for any injury you have experienced. Here’s how they can help you build a case:
1. Get Medical Attention
The US Bureau of Labor reports a disproportionately high rate of injury among construction workers vs. people employed in other industries. Getting the medical care you need should be the first priority after you have been injured.
In addition to getting you the attention you need, going to the emergency room creates a record of the incident with evidence to support the damages you suffered. X-rays, test results, and doctor testimonials can all help you strengthen your case.
2. Contact a Lawyer
The steps you take to receive compensation following a workplace injury will vary according to the details of your case. A construction accident lawyer in Houston can review the details of the incident and advise you on what kind of claim to submit, which damages to list, and whether or not you can submit multiple claims. You should look for an attorney who specializes in personal injury law. He or she should have ample experience dealing with construction accident cases.
3. Learn Which Kind of Claim You Should File
The legislation surrounding workers’ compensation is designed to provide workers with a relatively fast way of receiving benefits while avoiding costly legal battles for employers. However, compared to personal injury claims, there are fewer opportunities to maximize your payout. For example, you can claim emotional damages on a personal injury claim, but not for workers’ compensation.
In most states, employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. In Texas, they may choose not to participate in the system, which makes them non-subscribers. After you have experienced an injury on the job, your lawyer will help you understand which of the following claims you should file:
- Workers’ compensation
- Personal injury
If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Usually, the workers’ compensation system prevents workers from suing their co-workers or pressing charges against their employers. Instead, your employer’s insurance company will issue benefits after approving your claim. Eligible damages generally include medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability, and vocational rehabilitation.
If your employer’s negligence caused your injury and they do not have workers’ compensation insurance, you will file a non-subscriber claim. You can learn more about non-subscriber claims by reading information provided by the Texas Department of Insurance.
The process can be less straightforward than applying for workers’ compensation benefits, but it gives you the potential to receive a higher payout. Because they are a type of personal injury claim, non-subscriber claims can include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional damages, a higher percentage of your lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and other losses.
If your injury occurred at work but was caused by a third party instead of your employer, you can file a third-party personal injury claim. Examples include working with equipment that was manufactured incorrectly or suffering a slip-and-fall injury on a client’s property. Like non-subscriber claims, these claims are not subject to the same limitations as workers’ compensation. In some cases, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation and pursue a third-party claim at the same time.
4. Report the Incident
If you are filing a workers’ compensation claim, you have 30 days to report the incident in writing and one year to file paperwork to receive benefits, starting from the date of your injury. The United States Department of Justice provides these guidelines for reporting an injury.
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is two years, meaning you must file your lawsuit within that timeframe. While this might seem like a lengthy period, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you can to accommodate any delays in the process.
5. Document Your Case
If you are filing a personal injury claim, your lawyer can help you document your case in a period called the discovery phase. Evidence can include medical records, evidence of missed wages, paystubs, tax returns, and witness statements.
Resolving Your Case
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court, which saves everyone time and litigation costs. Your attorney can help you review the amount you are offered by the liable party or their insurance company to determine if it is enough. After reviewing the offer, you can choose whether to accept it, negotiate for more, or take the matter to trial.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Construction sites are hazardous places, but that doesn’t mean you should have to pay the price for negligent oversights. Working with an attorney who specializes in construction accident cases can help you recover financial compensation for your losses and hold the liable parties accountable.