Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer Today
You work hard. You have attained the skill and experience needed to be an effective construction worker. However, the nature of the job is dangerous. The use of heavy machinery, the moving of large objects, the presence of electrical equipment and wiring—these are all things that can make an environment hazardous. You must also work at considerable heights on scaffolding and down in below the ground in trenches.
Your employer should nevertheless mitigate the dangers to your safety. They should ensure that you have the personal protective equipment you require, and that a proper risk assessment has been done on the most dangerous evolutions.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you have various options. The first thing you should do is hire a Los Angeles personal injury attorney. Your employer may have made many promises about being there for workers when they are injured. But in the end, the company will look after its own interests first. Your lawyer is the only one you can trust to look after your interests.
Most companies have workers’ compensation insurance. This is a government-supported program that covers the cost of medical treatment and provides other benefits. If you are injured on the job, you will probably be eligible for workers’ comp. Workers’ comp is a “no fault” system. You need not prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injury. You need only prove that you were injured and that the injury occurred while you were at work.
In general, workers’ comp consists of the following elements:
- Payment of medical expenses
- Money for lost wages
- Compensation for partial or permanent disability
Although there are limitations on the benefits paid in a worker’s compensation claim, and that this does save you some money and effort in litigation, you can still pursue your right to claim damages for pain and suffering.
Building a Case for Other Claims
Workers’ comp covers employees. It does not cover vendors or subcontractors. If you have been harmed by one of the subcontractors or suppliers you work with, then you can make a claim against the company they work for. You can also hold the architects, engineers, and designers of the structure accountable if their work has been sloppy and deficient and led to your injury.
To be successful, you must prove that the person who caused your injury had a duty to act in a safe way, that they failed to meet this standard, that you were injured as a result, and that you are therefore owed a certain amount of money.
Here are some of the most common accidents on a construction site:
- Fall from scaffolding that has been poorly erected
- Reckless driving on site
- Defect in safety equipment
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Toxic chemical leak or spill
- The collapse of a structure
You can also file suit for pain and suffering. If your injuries are long-term and you can link your accident to wrongdoing on the part of your employer, then you may be able to sue them for the physical and mental distress caused by the harm done to you. This is typically done in cases involving permanent disabilities that result from the accident. You may need the treatment and care that falls outside the scope of your workers’ comp insurance. You may need the kind of money that only a corporation can provide.
If the accident and your injuries were caused by a faulty piece of equipment, you can take legal action against the company that manufactures it. A construction injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you build a case against such a company, and you can go on collecting workers’ comp as your suit winds its way through the legal process.
An attorney will bring together the necessary team of experts to assemble a case. They will first identify the responsible party, who may be anyone from a designer of a tool to the supplier of it. They will then set about linking the accident to the defect in the equipment. Legal defense strategies will need to prove that the piece of equipment that caused your injury was unreasonably dangerous, that you used the tool in the proper way, and that the defect in the tool caused your injury.
Helping Your Lawyer Get a Good Settlement
For the most part, you will need to put the entire case into the hands of your legal representation. However, you do have a role to play in helping them get the money you deserve. Here are some of the things that you can do to make your lawyer’s job a little easier:
- Speak only to your attorney
If you have targeted your employer, a subcontractor, a supplier, or a product manufacturer, they may want to speak to you directly to offer you a settlement. You should not accept it. The offer may look good, and you may be desperate for money. But you should assume that it is a low-ball figure because the company is usually trying to get ahead of a costly lawsuit. You should instead refer anyone who attempts to contact you to your lawyer. They should handle all negotiation and communication on your behalf.
- Follow the orders of your doctor
You will need to prove that the injury caused by the accident is significant and long-lasting. But this will only hold up in court if you take the treatment seriously. You must follow your physician’s directives to the letter. Otherwise, the defendant can claim that your health is not getting any better because you have not followed the orders of your doctor. This can complicate the efforts of your claim and lead to a serious reduction in the amount of money you are offered.
- Stay off social media
You may want to keep your friends and family around the country updated on your condition and your life after the accident. Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are great places to do that. But you should resist posting anything about your injury and treatment on social media until after you have received a settlement. Your account will be monitored and even the most innocent looking post can be used to undermine your case.