Construction sites can be incredibly dangerous places. Heavy equipment,falling structures, falling objects, explosives and electrical dangers are all risks that construction workers learn to maneuver throughout the course of their work experience.
But even the most careful of construction workers can find themselves injured on the job. It could be a preventable injury or it could be a freak accident that nobody saw coming. If you are injured on a construction site then there are two ways which you can seek compensation for your injuries. One is through workers’ compensation, though it doesn’t always work here in Texas. The other is to press an injury claim. We’ll look at both.
What Causes Construction Site Accidents?
There is an incredible amount of risk that comes with construction which we often overlook. These sites can be deadly not just for construction workers but for bystanders as well. Texas has a history with deadly construction site accidents, which isn’t surprising when you realize that 10% of all the construction in the United States comes out of Texas.
It makes staying safe even more important; you’ll see more on that in the next section.
The following accidents are among the most common that happen in construction, with the first four being responsible for the most construction-related deaths.
- Falling from height
- Being struck by an object (either falling, slipping or being shot out due to pressure)
- Getting crushed in or between pieces of construction equipment
- Faulty equipment, such as power tools going haywire
- Construction vehicle accidents
- Damage to the eyes or ears due to a failure to wear safety equipment
- Failing to follow the legally directed safety procedures
- Lifting heavy objects with improper technique
- Repetitive motion injuries such as repeatedly lifting heavy objects without stretches or breaks
- Collapsed scaffolding, which could result in a fall or in getting trapped or cut
- Trench collapse, which can result in oxygen being cut off
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that your employer pays into so that if you are injured on the job you will be able to get compensation for your injury. The idea is that if you are injured then you can get money to help cover your medical cost, make up for lost wages or seek training for a different field if your injury prevents you from returning to your previous one.
While the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act was passed in 1993, Texas handles workers’ comp differently than other states. Most states have made it a requirement for employers to carry workers’ compensation but this isn’t the case in Texas.
If your employer has workers’ compensation benefits then you can get finance support with medical payments and loss wages so long as you follow the necessary steps to claim workers’ compensation and the injury was sustained either at work or because of work.
If your employer has workers’ comp then you would need to report the injury to your employer within thirty days of the accident that caused the injury. Then you must get medical attention, specifically with the doctor that work suggests (if they do). Your employer then reports the injury to their insurance and the insurer would either pay the compensation or deny the claim. With any workplace injury, always keep detailed notes on the injury and your recovery steps as this will greatly reduce the chance of having your workers’ comp claim denied.
If your claim is denied then you’ll want to talk to an experienced attorney that can help you appeal the denial.
What Happens if My Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
If your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance then obviously you can’t get compensation through them in this manner. In a case like this you might want to file a personal injury claim against your employer. Also note, that if you are injured at work but it is through a third-party (such as another company’s driver hitting you) then you’ll want to file a personal injury claim because it isn’t your employer but the third-party that caused the injury.
Filing a lawsuit is fairly simple, after all it is mostly just paperwork. However, if you want to win a personal injury lawsuit then you are going to need to gather some information. Sit down and write out everything that happened in regards to your injury. It’s always better to include more details than less.
Texas is what we call a no-fault state. This means that you don’t have to show that your injury was your employers fault when filing for workers’ comp. However, when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit you do have to prove that the injury was due to the negligence of your employer (or that the third-party was negligent).
Ultimately this means that you have to prove that the person you are bringing the lawsuit against owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty and that the breach of duty is what caused your injury. This can be quite difficult to prove at times, especially if your own actions were what caused the injury. It might have occured at work but if your actions were the cause then the employer is not the one at fault.
How Can an Attorney Help Me with My Claim?
It’s always easiest to get workers’ compensation if your employer offers it. This is the route you should try first, as it is the quickest way to get the compensation you deserve. But if this route isn’t open to you, or if you get denied, then you’ll want to speak to an attorney.
Here at the Law Office of Matthew S. Norris we make it our duty to help people like you who have been injured get the compensation they deserve. If this means helping appeal a workers’ compensation denial, we’ll help repeal. If it means having your back and fighting a personal injury lawsuit with you then that’s exactly what we’ll do. Give us a call at (210) 307-4457 to see how we can help you today.