Injured in a Construction Accident? Know Your Rights.
Construction accident injuries can lead to long-term consequences, many of which can permanently change the trajectory of your life. If you suffered serious injuries in a construction accident, you need to understand your rights as you seek compensation.
Finding the Liable Party After a Construction Accident
Construction accident claims can quickly grow complicated. You may struggle to figure out who bears liability for a construction accident. Construction sites are filled with people and equipment, including:
Contractors. Often, construction sites involve more than one contractor working on similar projects. Most often, they have a single contractor who bears responsibility for organizing the site, but sometimes, you may have multiple construction companies interacting as they work on specific elements of a project.
Subcontractors. Construction companies may bring in subcontractors to handle many tasks that the company does not specialize in itself, from pouring concrete to handling electrical work. Often, construction sites are a revolving door of subcontractors, each of which have their own specific equipment and responsibilities.
Equipment providers. Many construction jobs require specialized tools. Sometimes, construction companies provide their own tools. Other times, however, they may need to rent that equipment from another provider.
Owners. In addition to the people working directly on the site, the site owners may also show up. Sometimes, they may take on their own projects as part of the construction process.
The liable party in a construction accident may depend on how the accident occurs, what led to or contributed to it, and who bears responsibility for a specific portion of the site. For example, if you suffered severe injuries due to an equipment malfunction on rented equipment, you may need to file a personal injury claim against the company that provided that equipment.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims
Most of the time, when you suffer injury while working on a construction site, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is different from a personal injury claim in several key ways.
Workers’ compensation automatically pays all your medical bills.
If you have grounds for a workers’ compensation claim, you will not need to pay for your medical bills yourself and seek compensation later. Instead, workers’ compensation will pay for your medical expenses.
In exchange for that coverage, however, you may need to use specific medical care providers selected by your workers’ compensation policy. If you seek outside care, you may need to pay out of pocket for that aid.
Workers’ compensation will pay out 2/3 of your income.
In Louisiana, workers’ compensation benefits will pay 2/3 of your income during your recovery. You can use that money to pay your medical bills and manage your other expenses while you heal.
You may receive a one-time settlement offer if you suffer permanent injury.
If you suffer permanent or long-term limitations due to injuries sustained as a worker on a construction site, you may receive a one-time payout that will compensate you for the injuries you sustained and the losses you face due to those injuries.
Do you have grounds to file a personal injury claim instead of a workers’ compensation claim?
Most of the time, you do not have grounds to file a personal injury claim if you sustained injuries while at work. You may, however, have grounds for a personal injury claim if your employer failed to take adequate safety precautions, including ignoring OSHA regulations or failing to provide you with adequate safety equipment.
On the other hand, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against another party who worked on the construction site. If, for example, a subcontractor or equipment provider caused your injuries, or if you sustained injuries due to negligence on the part of the site owner, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim instead of a workers’ compensation claim. Contact an attorney to discuss the circumstances that led to your accident and your right to compensation, including whether you should file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim.
Recovering Damages After a Construction Site Accident
If you have grounds to file a personal injury claim, not a workers’ compensation claim, following a construction site accident, you may recover:
Medical bills can quickly mount following a construction accident. Not only do many victims need emergency medical treatment as they leave the scene of the accident, they may need ongoing medical care for the injuries sustained in the accident: surgical treatment, follow-up visits, and physical and occupational therapy, for example. Victims with some types of injuries, including amputations and spinal cord injuries, may need durable medical equipment installed in their homes or to aid in overall independence. You may also find yourself needing a full or part-time caregiver, especially in the early days after an accident.
While recovering from severe construction site accident injuries, many victims simply cannot complete their usual job duties. Construction sites have a number of hazards, and people not at their best physically may have no ability to navigate them safely. As a result, you may have to stay out of work until you recover from your injuries. In some cases, you may lack the ability to work in your current profession at all. You can claim compensation for wages lost during your recovery as part of your claim.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to tangible losses from your accident, you may have significant pain and suffering related to your injuries. Many construction workers struggle with severe, ongoing pain after the accident. You may also suffer substantial emotional anguish due to your inability to work throughout your recovery. An attorney can help you better calculate how to include pain and suffering as part of your claim.
If you suffered serious injuries in a construction accident, an attorney can help you better understand your legal rights, from how much compensation you deserve to whether to file a personal injury claim or workers’ compensation claim. Contact Alvendia Kelly & Demarest today at 504-200-0000 to learn more about your rights.