Construction accidents can result in minor injuries ranging from sprained backs or joints to the more catastrophic. Since the construction industry has more injury accidents than any other occupation, you should be aware of what to do after an injury on the job so you can ensure your legal rights are protected and that more options for compensation are available to you.
The following construction injury checklist is a guide you can use should an unfortunate accident occur:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Your failure to do so could jeopardize your right to workers’ compensation benefits and further compensation if a third party action is filed. Do not refuse medical care from a physician supplied by your employer, but also get care from your own doctor.
- Promptly report the accident to your supervisor and have an injury report done. OSHA needs to be contacted as well.
- Note the location of the accident and if any equipment, or lack of it, was involved. For example, were you wearing a safety harness or was one not available? Were there safety guards in place or clear warnings given about a hazardous condition?
- Were there witnesses to the accident? If so, get their contact information.
- If you can, take photographs of the accident site and equipment involved as soon after the accident as possible.
- Take photographs of your injuries at various stages of your progress and treatment.
- Keep a log of your medications, dosages and when taken. Also, document your injuries, daily activities, pain and what activities you are unable to perform.
- Keep all medical appointments and follow your doctor’s advice.
- Cooperate with the OSHA investigator.
- Contact a construction injury lawyer and do not sign any documents without first consulting with an attorney.
A serious construction injury will be investigated by OSHA to determine if there were any safety or other regulatory violations. In some cases, lack of training, supervision or the negligence of a third party was a factor in causing the accident.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If injured in the course and scope of employment, you are entitled to certain benefits, regardless of fault, including wage loss, medical expenses and care, rehabilitation costs, mileage to and from medical appointments and disability compensation. Your construction injury lawyer can explain the benefits available to you depending on the nature and extent of your injury. You are not entitled to your full wage loss nor can you collect damages for pain and suffering under workers’ compensation.
Your attorney, however, can see that all available benefits are awarded and ensure that your claim is handled appropriately. If issues arise that delay, deny or question your benefits, your attorney can handle these for you.
Third Party Claims
If a third party such as an outside contractor or designer or manufacturer of a defective tool or product was responsible for the accident, then you may have a third party injury claim in addition to the workers’ compensation claim. Another contractor may have failed to place caution or warning signs around a hazardous site, not installed safety guards or dropped a heavy object onto your head or limb. A piece of equipment may not have been safely designed or poor quality building materials may have collapsed causing serious injuries. If negligence can be attributed to a third party, you are entitled to:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium claim by a spouse
Lost earnings and medical expenses that were not paid completely by workers’ compensation may be awarded. The workers’ compensation carrier does have a right to file a lien on your third party claim that can be negotiated by your construction injury lawyer.
Retain Attorney Paul Tetzel
A serious construction accident can be a life-altering event. Even a seemingly minor injury can cause you to have to find other employment or develop into a more serious condition. It is vital that you have competent and knowledgeable legal representation if you were involved in a construction accident to protect your right to benefits and to other compensation if a third party claim is an option. Call Boston construction lawyer Paul Tetzel today for a free consultation about your injury claim.