Construction jobs are dangerous by their very nature. Workers are using heavy machinery, navigating scaffolding, and laboring in precarious environments that can put them in harm’s way in a thousand different ways. But even when you’re working in a hazardous environment, your workplace has a duty to keep you reasonably safe.
If you’ve been injured on a construction site, you have several options for pursuing a claim. Follow this checklist after your construction site accident.
1. Seek Medical Attention
If your employer offers workers’ compensation benefits, they may want you to see a designated provider. It’s fine to do so, but also seek independent medical care. Getting a second opinion from your own physician will help you make some important decisions in the days ahead. Ask for copies of all your medical records.
2. Consult with a Construction Injury Attorney
Retaining the services of a personal injury attorney will be one of the most important steps you’ll take in the process, and it should be one of the first. Attorneys generally offer a free initial consultation, so you’ll get valuable insight about how to proceed with your case,
3. Decide Whether or Not to File a Workers’ Compensation Report (Or Have Your Employer File One)
If you’re injured on a construction site, you’re likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system, meaning you don’t have to prove your employer was negligent in order to collect benefits. You simply have to prove you were injured, and that injury occurred during the course of your work duties.
Your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. A claim will help you pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and any disability.
4. Follow All Filing Deadlines
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of your accident. Your notice should include the following:
- Name and contact information
- Date and time of your injury
- How you injured yourself
- Where the injury occurred
- A list of the injuries
5. Don’t Sign Anything Without Consulting an Attorney
Your employer or their insurance company may want you to sign paperwork. Even if it seems benign, we don’t recommend signing anything without consulting with an attorney first. You don’t want to be “signing your rights away” without realizing it.
6. Decide on Next Steps.
Even if you can’t pursue a claim against your employer for pain and suffering, you may have other options for legal recourse. For example, if you were injured by defective equipment, you may have grounds for a claim under the law of product liability. Similarly, if you were injured due to a subcontractor’s negligence, you may have grounds for a claim against their employer. This is why meeting with a construction lawyer is so important – they can identify other factors at play in your accident, and pursue a claim against them as necessary.
7. Don’t Talk About Your Accident with Anyone But Your Attorney
We live in an age where taking to social media to tell your network about everything is tempting. But people may not realize that social media is public domain – and everything you say can be used against you in court. There have been numerous instances in which victims of personal injury have lost cases, because of things they have posted on social media. Do yourself a favor, and don’t talk about the specifics of your case with anyone but your attorney.
If you’ve been injured on a construction site in New Orleans, we can help. Contact us for a confidential review of your options.