Construction is inherently dangerous, but when a worker is injured in a preventable accident, they may be entitled to compensation in addition to workers’ comp. If you have been injured on the job in San Bernardino, contact Hanson & Mouri. We can help you determine who is liable and hold them responsible. Call (951) 688-0006 or send us a message online to arrange a free consultation today.
Workers are automatically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when they suffer a construction-related injury. However, employer’s insurance companies often deny valid claims or offer unfairly low settlements. A construction accident attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf and represent your best interests. Having representation will significantly increase your chances of recovering fair benefit payments.
Your attorney will also investigate your accident to determine whether a party other than your employer contributed to your injury—for example, a contractor, property owner, defective product manufacturer, etc. If a third party is partially or entirely to blame, you have the right to file a lawsuit for further compensation in addition to your workers’ comp claim. A San Bernardino accident lawyer has the resources to gather critical evidence of fault and ensure that the wrongful party is held accountable. They can also accurately estimate the value of your case and, when in negotiations with the insurance companies, will not settle for less. If necessary, they will prepare your case for trial and represent you in court to secure a favorable outcome.
Construction accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, such as the following:
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from mild to severe. However, a victim can still face long-term consequences from a minor TBI or concussion and permanent cognitive or physical impairment in extreme cases.
Severe Bone Fractures
Broken arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis breaks are common in construction accidents. They may take weeks to heal, and activities are typically restricted.
Damage to internal organs can be life-threatening if not treated immediately after an accident.
Back injuries of all types can occur, such as herniated or bulging discs, fractures, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and more. These injuries often result in lifelong complications and chronic pain.
Crush Injuries and Limb Amputations
A construction accident can result in a crushed limb or digits, causing damage that is so severe that it leads to amputation.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Lacerations or burns can occur—for example, due to explosions, broken glass, tools, sharp metal, plastic parts, vehicle fire, etc. A severe laceration or burn can cause long-term damage and may result in significant scarring that diminishes a victim’s ability to enjoy life.
Exposure to Hazardous Substances
Construction workers can become ill when frequently exposed or at long intervals to contaminants, such as chemicals, mold, asbestos, wood dust, etc.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The trauma from a construction accident can lead to severe mental and emotional conditions that are debilitating.
Some construction accidents result in fatal injuries to the victim, making it a San Bernardino wrongful death case.
After any type of construction accident, it is critical to seek medical care immediately. Some severe injuries can have delayed symptoms, and in addition, there must be medical records linking injuries to the construction accident.
Four types of accidents responsible for causing the most construction-related fatalities, commonly referred to as the “fatal four.” The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) lists the fatal four as follows:
The workers’ compensation benefits injured construction workers are entitled to are generally divided into five basic categories:
Treatment or Medical Care
Reasonable medical treatment, such as evaluations, surgeries, hospitalizations, prescription medications, medical devices, transportation costs, etc.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Up to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wages while recovering from a job injury. These benefits last up to 104 weeks within a five-year period. However, there are exceptions to this time limit. For instance, you can receive 240 weeks of temporary total disability if you experience one of the following conditions on the job:
Permanent Disability Benefits
When workers are unable to return to their former job or any type of work, they can receive permanent disability benefits for up to 14 years. The benefit amount is decided based on a disability rating. The rating will depend upon the type and severity of injury, the worker’s age, occupation, and doctor’s restrictions. A disability evaluator or judge will include this rating in a formula to calculate benefit payments.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Also referred to as the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit, vocational rehabilitation services assist workers with skill enhancement or retraining if they cannot return to their previous job.
When a worker is killed due to a job-related injury or illness, their spouse or dependents will receive death benefits.
Under California law, employers with one or more employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. That means all construction workers are entitled to benefits if injured on a job site. However, if your employer does not carry insurance, they are subject to criminal liability, and you have the right to sue for damages.
Employers cannot be held legally responsible for a construction accident as long as they carry workers’ compensation insurance and did not intentionally cause you harm. However, when a third party also contributed to the accident, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit for further compensation. Third parties that may be liable, for example, can be the following:
General Contractor, Construction Manager, or Subcontractor
These parties are legally obligated to provide workers with a reasonably safe construction site and warn of any hazards.
Property owners have a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for construction workers on their premises by fixing or warning of known hazards or ones they should have known about.
Professionals such as engineers and architects have a responsibility to ensure their plans are not defective and to meet safety standards when designing what is being constructed.
Product Manufacturers and Suppliers
If defective equipment, tools, or materials caused your accident, the faulty product’s manufacturer and any other party involved in the distribution chain may be liable.
A construction accident lawyer can review the facts of your case and investigate to determine if any other parties should be held accountable.
When you pursue a third-party claim for a construction accident injury, you can potentially recover compensation beyond what workers’ compensation covers. For example:
After a San Bernardino work injury, immediately report the injury to your employer or as soon as possible. Seek medical attention right away as it is critical to your health and will also protect your right to a claim. Whether you only file a workers’ compensation claim and/or pursue a third party lawsuit, taking the following steps is also vital :
Lastly, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Many will evaluate your case for free and can advise you on your workers’ compensation claim and legal options.
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, you have only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit related to a construction accident. This law is known as the statute of limitations and once the deadline has passed, you will likely be barred from recovering compensation. This statute ensures evidence remains available for claims, as it can disappear over time or witnesses’ memories can fade.
If you were injured on a construction site, contact Hanson & Mouri. We will fight to ensure you recover all the compensation and benefits you are entitled to. Call (951) 688-0006 or message us online to arrange a free consultation today.