Can You File a Construction Accident Lawsuit?
If you’ve been injured on a construction site, whether it’s because you fell from a scaffolding, because someone didn’t properly maintain the equipment you were using, or because someone wasn’t operating equipment safely, you could be entitled to financial compensation.
Here’s what you need to know.
Can You File a Construction Accident Lawsuit Against Your Employer?
Accidents on construction sites can be catastrophic. The injuries a construction worker or other professional can sustain can even be life-threatening.
Construction sites are inherently dangerous, and the whole industry is rife with accidents. While construction work can be performed safely – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration tries to see to that – accidents still happen. Sometimes accidents are just that; they’re not really anyone’s fault. However, in many cases, accidents are the direct result of another person’s carelessness or negligence, and they’re completely preventable.
If you’ve been injured as the result of someone’s negligence, you could be eligible to file a construction accident lawsuit against your employer.
Common Injuries on Construction Sites
Some of the most common injuries that occur on construction sites are:
- Being struck by an object
- Being caught in between objects
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Falls on Construction Sites
Falls are the leading cause of construction site accidents, and they often result in injury or death. Typically, workers who are higher than 6 feet above ground-floor level are the ones most at risk for serious injury or death – but even shorter heights can be catastrophic.
Often, workers fall from roofs, ladders and scaffolding. Unfortunately, many of these falls are preventable.
Electrocution on Construction Sites
Electrocution is a very real hazard on job sites, whether the workers are building towering skyscrapers, residential homes or commercial businesses. Technically, electrocution is death by electric shock, which is caused by exposure to lethal amounts of electrical energy. The human body acts as a conductor when it comes into contact with an electrical current. That can happen due to exposed electrical wires, improper use of extension cords or damaged equipment.
Being Struck by an Object on a Construction Site
So-called “struck-by” injuries are caused by forcible contact or impact between the victim and a piece of equipment or another object. The other object can be something flying through the air, falling down, swinging or rolling. These injuries, particularly when the other object is big or knocks the worker down from an elevated surface, can be severe and even life-threatening.
Being Caught in Between Objects on a Construction Site
Hazards that result in a worker being caught in a piece of equipment or caught between two objects can result in serious injury or death. These injuries are different from struck-by injuries because those only occur when the injury is caused only by an object striking the worker. In caught-in or caught-between injuries, the injury is created as a result of being crushed between objects. Things like cave-ins, being pulled into machinery or equipment, or being compressed or crushed between sliding, shifting or rolling objects are all considered “caught” injuries.
These aren’t the only injuries you could be able to sue your employer for – they’re just the most common.
What About Workers’ Compensation?
The state of Texas allows some people to file for worker’s compensation. That’s a form of insurance from the government that helps cover the cost of the worker’s injuries, and people can file for it even if the employer (or another worker) wasn’t negligent.
Not everyone can file for worker’s compensation. In those cases, the remedy for negligence is often a lawsuit against the employer.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Construction Companies
In many cases, the employer is responsible – at least in part – for a worker’s injuries. If that’s the case in your situation, you could be eligible to file a lawsuit against the construction company. You and your attorney will most likely decide to try to negotiate a settlement with the employer first. If negotiations fail, you may choose to file a formal personal injury lawsuit in court.
Settlements in Construction Accident Cases
Often, a victim’s attorney can negotiate with the construction company’s insurance agency and work out a settlement that both parties feel is fair. You can ask the insurance agency for as much money as you feel is necessary (your attorney will help guide you after considering the costs involved in treating your injuries). However, in many cases, the insurance company will make an offer that’s too low – remember, they’re not in the business of making large payouts. When that happens, you can accept the settlement amount the insurance company offers you or file a formal lawsuit in court.
Formal Lawsuits in Construction Accident Cases
In a formal lawsuit, your attorney will represent your best interests in front of a judge. Your lawyer will explain your expenses – past and future – to the judge and provide documentation to prove it. The insurance company will also have a chance to present its case.
Eventually, a judge will make a ruling. If you win the lawsuit, the judge will order the insurance company to pay you a certain amount of money in compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are designed to help you pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Sometimes judges also order the insurance company to pay punitive damages – that’s money designed to punish the construction company for wrongdoing. Punitive damages are designed to deter other companies from doing the same thing your employer did.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Filing a Construction Accident Lawsuit?
You could be entitled to financial compensation if you were injured in a construction accident. The best way to find out is to call a personal injury attorney who understands the law and how it applies in your case, so call us today to get the help you deserve.