Getting injured on a construction worksite can leave you with serious, life-altering injuries. Not only do these injuries cause physical and emotional pain, they also inflict severe financial hardship in the form of medical expenses and lost time at work. And that’s if a worker is “lucky.”
In one recent year, over 5,000 people died on construction worksites in the United States, making construction jobs one of the country’s most dangerous occupations.
Hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to recover the compensation you deserve after a construction accident injures you or a loved one. Read on to learn why.
Types of Construction Accidents
There are many types of construction accidents, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified a Fatal Four that account for more than half of all construction accident deaths. These are:
- Falls (especially falls from high heights);
- Getting struck by (falling) objects
- Electrocution; and
- Getting caught in a tight space, or between heavy objects/machinery.
Over all, the rate of accidents on construction sites has fallen over time according to government data, but that surely comes as cold comfort to workers injured on job sites.
Common Construction Accident Injuries
While construction worksite accident injuries vary, many take a devastating toll on victims and their families. As noted above, construction fatalities happen all-too-often. Even when workers survive these accidents, they frequently sustain catastrophic injuries that include:
- Thermal, chemical, and electrical burns;
- Crushed limbs and traumatic amputations;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Spinal cord injury; and
- Severe orthopedic injuries, including ruptured disks, dislocated joints, and compound fractures.
Any of these injuries can, and usually does, keep a construction worker sidelined without a paycheck for months, if not permanently. Common treatments for these conditions cost tens of thousands of dollars, even after workers’ compensation insurance picks up part of the tab. Disability benefits, if granted, rarely make up for the income the worker loses. With the help of a construction accident lawyer, injured workers and their families can recover the compensation they need and deserve to put their lives back together.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ comp covers most on-the-job construction accident injuries. Workers who sustain injuries on a job site should immediately report what happened to their employer and seek medical care from a workers’-compensation-approved health care provider. You can find a list of approved doctors here.
In Nevada, workers’ compensation pays benefits to injured workers that (depending on the nature and extent of an injury) can include:
- Medical treatment;
- Lost time compensation – Temporary Total Disability/Temporary Partial Disability (TTD/TPD);
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD);
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD);
- Vocational Rehabilitation;
- Dependent’s payments in the event of death; and
- Other claims-related benefits or expenses (i.e., mileage reimbursement).
These benefits, while helpful, rarely pay for what a worker loses in terms of earning capacity and life enjoyment after a severe construction accident. Also, it is never a “sure thing” that a worker will receive the benefits he or she deserves. Nevada’s workers’ compensation system is notorious for denying valid claims, making it essential for injured construction workers to hire an attorney who knows how to pursue every penny of compensation the worker deserves in workers’ comp benefits.
Other Sources of Construction Accident Compensation
Receiving workers’ comp insurance benefits effectively prevents a worker from suing an employer or co-worker for on-the-job injuries. That does not mean, however, that a worker cannot recover damages from other parties who contributed to his or her injuries. An experienced construction accident injury attorney knows to look for other sources of compensation for an injured worker, who may have legal liability to the worker even if the worker also receives workers’ comp benefits.
What are those sources? In short, any party other than an employer whose careless or reckless actions caused the accident that led to the worker’s injury. These may include:
- Engineers and architects;
- Contractors unrelated to the worker’s employer;
- Construction equipment manufacturers; and
- Construction materials manufacturers.
Experienced construction accident attorneys carefully evaluate the facts and circumstances of an accident to assess whether any of these third parties caused harm to a worker. That investigation may include hiring forensic engineers to reconstruct how an accident happened. It takes special skill and determination to build and win cases against third parties in construction accidents. Oftentimes, the other side in these cases is a large corporation with an army of high-priced defense lawyers. Injured construction workers need a lawyer who has the experience and resources to go toe-to-toe with the biggest, most well-funded opponents.
Compensation for Construction Accident Injuries
As we noted above, you likely have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your construction accident injuries, though you will likely need a lawyer’s help in pursuing your claim to make sure you get all of the benefits you deserve.
If your attorney determines there are third parties who share the blame for your injuries, then, in addition to workers’ comp benefits, you may also have the right to recover money damages to compensate you for your:
- Pain and suffering;
- Harm done to personal relationships; and
- Any out-of-pocket expenses not covered by workers’ comp.
There is no guarantee that you will have the ability to pursue a third party in your construction accident injury matter. However, the only way to find out, one way or the other, is to put your case in the hands of an experienced construction accident injury attorney.
Let us be clear what we mean by “experienced.” In choosing an attorney, be sure to hire someone who has years under his or her belt representing victims of construction site accidents. These are complicated cases. Many lawyers lack the resources to do them justice.
Only a lawyer who knows the construction industry, and has a track record in both workers’ comp and “complex” personal injury litigation can handle this type of case with the diligence that an injured construction worker truly deserves.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101