Construction workers have some of the more dangerous jobs in the country. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that in 2014 one in five worker deaths was in the construction industry.
The very assets that make a construction worker valuable on the job— robust health and physical strength—are jeopardized in an accident. An incapacitated breadwinner can catapult a middle-class family into poverty. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, we urge you to seek help from a personal injury attorney. Construction accident injuries can often involve multiple court filings—workers compensation, personal injury, even wrongful death cases—and multiple responsible parties. Even if you are self-employed, you have protection under the law.
Don’t try to maneuver this system on your own. The attorneys at John Foy & Associates are familiar with Atlanta’s construction industry, as well as the state and federal regulations designed to protect you. Give us a call at 404-400-4000 for a free consultation.
What should I do if a loved one or I have been injured in a construction accident?
If either you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site, seek medical help right away. Tell your supervisor that you have been injured, this is important for a workers compensation case. Gather as much information as you can about the work site. Who is the contractor? Were the conditions unsafe? Was the work properly permitted? If you can, take photographs of the accident site and write down the names and numbers of any witnesses.
Typically on a large construction projects, there are multiple contractors and sub-contractors all working next to each other. Identifying those parties would be very helpful in getting the case started.
How is a personal injury claim different from a Workers Compensation claim in a construction accident? Can I file both kinds of claims?
A personal injury case is a claim that another person or company was responsible for your injury. These claims must be proven. You can file a workers compensation claim, a personal injury claim and even a product liability claim at the same time. In fact, here are the four types of claims possible:
- A workers compensation claim is not supposed to be an adversarial type of claim. No one is considered “at fault.” Simply put, you were injured on the job and the insurance system is set up to compensate you until you can get back to work.
- A personal injury claim has to have a responsible party for your injury. That claim will seek compensation for all medical costs, even future costs, lost wages, pain and suffering. If someone is found criminally at fault, the court may even award punitive damages meant to punish the wrongdoer.
- A product liability claim finds fault in a product, perhaps the tool or materials that you are working with. These damages seek the same types of damages as a personal injury claim.
- A wrongful death claim seeks damages for the survivors of a loved one who has been fatally injured in an accident.
Who is the responsible party in a construction accident?
Nobody needs to be responsible for you to make a recovery from a Workers Compensation claim. In fact, the system is set up deliberately to be no fault. For a personal injury claim or product liability case, another person or company is at fault for your injury and they are the responsible party. We must prove negligence as well as that that negligence was the cause of your injury. Our construction accident investigators and experts help us with this process
How are construction accidents different from other on-the-job accidents?
Construction accidents are often more devastating than most on-the-job accidents. The job is inherently dangerous, but with the economic pressures to build more quickly and less safely, construction workers are vulnerable to shortcuts. The construction industry has suffered greatly since the economic collapse in 2008. Even with the recent economic recovery, many workers are afraid that if they complain or file a case they will lose their job.
David Michaels, OSHA Assistant Secretary, testifying in front of Congress in 2011, called construction workers, “Among the most vulnerable workers in America . . . Because of language barriers, literacy and other limitations, these workers are often hard to reach through traditional communications methods.”
What are the common causes of construction accidents?
Falls are the most common causes of accidents in construction zones, according to the Department of Labor. In fact, almost half of all fatal on-the-job falls in 2009 were in the construction industry. Falling from scaffolding, roofs and high structures, as well as slips and falls are high risks for construction workers. The Department of Labor lists the next common injuries as:
- Transportation-related events, traveling to the job in a company truck or vehicle.
- Contact with objects and equipment
- Exposure to harmful substances and environments. One example is the thousands of industry workers affected by the use of asbestos.
What are the common injuries in a construction accident?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists these common injuries as the “Fatal Four”. Almost two-thirds of all construction worker deaths are from: falls, being struck by object, “caught-in/between,” and electrocution.
What if my employer says I am partly to blame for the accident?
Again, in a workers compensation case, it doesn’t matter who is at fault. If your employer says you are at fault, you need a strong partner at your side with expertise and experience with these types of cases. John Foy & Associates has been in Atlanta more than 20 years. We’re a well-established personal injury law firm that has seen all sorts of accusations against our clients over the years.
Is there a time limit in filing a case from a Construction Accident?
There are always time limits or statute of limitations in a personal injury claim. Most of the time, your right to pursue a claim expires after two years, but there are instances when it expires much sooner. In a Georgia Workers Compensation case, you are supposed to notify your supervisor that you have been injured within 30 days. If you do not, you may lose your benefits.
Call an attorney as soon as you can and let us help you through this process.
How can a construction accident attorney help me?
Hiring a Construction Accident Attorney is one of the few times a person without a lot of resources can afford the best. We take our fee only after a settlement is reached. If there’s no settlement, you don’t have to pay anything. We’ll help you get medical care from professionals who also work on contingency, taking their fee only when your case is settled. We’re a large Georgia law firm with deep ties in Atlanta. As you might expect, you wouldn’t want us framing your home. “We do one thing and we do it well,” says our firm founder, John Foy. Our job is only to protect the injured. A construction accident case has multiple issues going on at once. Most likely, it has many parties involved. Don not try to manage a Workers Compensation case on your own, especially if there is a chance to add a personal injury claim.
Give our experts a call at 404-400-4000. We’ll help you sort through the details and decide your next best step. Any call will be confidential.