After any construction accident, you have to take some important steps so you guarantee that your rights are fully protected. You might find it that the construction site foreman or the employer is a confidant or a close friend. Even so, at the end of the day, the construction accident is all about insurance companies. And insurance firms do all that they can in order to reduce how much they offer.
To increase the possibility you will receive a fair compensation, one that will actually cover all damages, you have to take the right steps following the construction site accident. The most important ones are presented in the following paragraphs by Hill & Moin LLP – Accident Attorneys.
Knowing What Type of Claim You Have After the Construction Accident
When you are involved in an accident at a construction site, the first thing you have to think about is what construction claim type you actually have. If injured, you surely have one of the following types of claims:
- Worker’s compensation injury claim.
- Personal injury claim.
When Do You Have a Worker’s Compensation Injury Claim?
In most US states, the employer needs to have worker’s compensation insurance in order to hire someone. This means there is a very good possibility you already have this type of insurance thanks to the contract you signed with your employer. In order to be considered eligible for compensation for worker’s compensation, there are four main requirements:
- You have to be an employee
This might seem quite obvious but you have to be employed by a legit company if you are to file for a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, there are several workers who are not officially categorized as being employees. They are independent contractors. As an example, most truck drivers actually own their vehicles and are self-employed in the eyes of the law. The same thing can be said about most food delivery drivers and even ride-share drivers.
Independent contractors do not have the benefits associated with worker’s comp. They are working for companies based on other contracts and they tend to be much more independent. While in the construction industry there are fewer independent contractors than regular full-time employees, it is still very important to be aware exactly of the type of work you do, together with how it is officially categorized.
- The employer needs to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy active
This is another quite obvious requirement if you want to file a worker’s comp claim. The vast majority of employers do have something like this active. For instance, in the state of Illinois, around 90% of all employers do have the coverage active since it is required by law.
The employer that does not obtain this insurance and knows that it is needed can be fined a lot of money. The maximum is $500 daily for what is not carried while the minimum fine possible is $10,000.
When your employer knowingly does not obtain the coverage and the employee ends up injured, it is possible for it to be sued by the injured party. This is done in civil court and possible benefits are practically unlimited. In addition, if a civil trial is launched, it is the employer that will need to prove the fact that its negligence did not lead to the injury of the employee, which can be quite an advantage.
- The injury needs to happen while carrying out something that is a part of the job
The official term used is “course and scope” and it means you need to do something that is officially required as a part of your job to file a valid claim. Much can be said about what it actually means that someone should act as a part of the course and scope of the job. However, the main rule to remember is very simple: the accident should have happened while you were working.
As an example, if one employee starts fighting with another employee as they are at the factory, injuries are most likely not covered because of the fact that fighting is not doing work.
Just think about one thing, which is whether or not you were injured while you were doing something that would benefit your employer. If this is the case, you are considered to be acting right within your job’s course and scope. So, a claim is possible.
- The statute of limitations deadline has to be respected
The last thing to remember is you need to meet all filing and reporting deadlines. This means that you have to notify the employer that an accident happened and you were injured. You should also report any possible illness and you have to do this within just 45 days of when the construction accident happened. Fortunately, even oral reports are accepted, even if it is a much better idea to do so in writing. Save copies of the reports and make sure they include the following details:
- Your contact information and your name.
- When the accident happened.
- How the accident happened.
- General descriptions of the sustained injuries.
Filing deadlines also have to be respected. In most states, you need to file your worker’s compensation claim in 2 or 3 years. This means the process can be quite straightforward. However, this is only in theory. There are several other things that you should be aware of and that could make the construction accident very serious.
Personal Injury Claims Versus Workers’ Compensation Claims
When injured during a construction accident, besides the worker’s compensation claim, it is possible to file the injury claim. The big difference between the two is that in the injury case it is mandatory to prove the negligence of the party at fault. We can define negligence as being a failure to be careful in a reasonable way as an activity is partaken.
As an example, in the event that you climb a functional ladder but you slip to then fall due to muddy boots, you do not really have a personal injury claim since nobody did anything wrong. However, in the event you do work at construction sites on a scaffold and it collapses, a workers’ compensation claim is possible and you can file an injury claim that is filed against whoever made a mistake that led to the scaffolding going down.
Is A Personal Injury Claim Possible After Your Construction Accident?
When a construction accident happens and there is an injury, several defendants appear since we are talking about several companies and contractors that do work at the site. If you do have a personal injury case, you have to expect the fact that substantial litigation might be needed in regard to those at fault.
If we are to refer to the example with the scaffolding, you can easily sue the firm that was responsible for the erection of the scaffolding, together with all contractors and companies that had some equipment around it or that utilized it. This can easily lead to having over 10 defendants in the construction accident case. Going through the list and figuring out exactly who is responsible is something that is very difficult to do. Try not to find the parties at fault alone without the help of an experienced construction accident attorney.
Is It Possible to File Both an Injury Claim and a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
It is quite simple to figure out if you have the workers’ compensation claim or not since the four elements highlighted above are very easy to understand. However, when it comes to also file the personal injury claim, you might not be aware of what you are entitled to.
To keep things short, you can file a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim at the same time. However, the law is very complicated and you might be faced with serious complications you did not expect if you do not know what you are doing.
To sum this up as fast as possible, according to law, if you are injured, you have access to both of these options to receive the financial compensation you deserve. However, the employer is allowed to recover payments from construction injury claim recovery. Also, if you do file a workers’ compensation claim and you do agree to settle, you might not be allowed to file a personal injury case.
It is very important to discuss all your options with your attorney in order to realize what the best course of action is in your case. There is a very good possibility you will only need to file personal injury claims if your injuries are serious. Also, if workers’ compensation insurance does not cover the full extent of your injuries, you surely need to file an extra personal injury claim.
How Much Are You Going to Receive From Your Construction Accident Claim?
The truth is there is no exact amount that can be highlighted. This is because how much you are going to receive depends on several circumstances that are unique to your case. You need to be aware of the fact that there is a maximum amount that the worker’s comp insurance can pay up to. When the extent of your injuries warrants an amount that goes over that limit, as is often the case with very serious injuries, you will surely want to also file a personal injury claim.
With personal injury claims, there are no real limits to how much you are going to receive.
In order to calculate the worth of your claim, it is important to take into account several things, like:
- How much it costs to get medical treatment.
- How much medical treatment you are going to need in the future.
- How much you lose because you cannot go to work.
- How much money you will lose in the future in the event that you suffer a permanent injury or an injury that will stop you from doing anything work-related at the same level as before.
For all of these, especially when you file a personal injury claim after the construction accident, you will need proof. This is why it is very important to keep all the proof you can to show the extent of your injuries. If you cannot do this alone, you will need to get help from someone who can. If you do not have someone who you trust, you can always hire an attorney to do exactly that.
How Will the Construction Accident Attorney Help You?
Whenever injured in a construction accident, you have the right to hire an attorney to help you. And it is highly recommended that you do, even if you simply go for the workers’ compensation option. At the very least, the attorney can help you to figure out if you have a case and give you a rough estimate about how much you should receive according to law.
When things become complicated, the help of the construction accident attorney instantly becomes priceless. Injury lawyers will work very hard to negotiate the best possible worker’s comp liens. Keep in mind that most cases that are handled without the help of an attorney lead to receiving just up to 75% of how much you could actually receive. This is because of a very simple reason to understand. Insurance companies do all they can in order to minimize how much is paid out. This does include several aggressive negotiation tactics that put a lot of stress on the victim.
In order to get rid of the entire situation, the victims often agree to a settlement so they would receive at least something and get rid of what is happening. By having a personal injury attorney in your corner, one who is experienced in construction accidents, you are sure nobody will be able to take advantage of you.
At the end of the day, it is very important that you know your rights. And the truth is that the most important thing you should do after a construction site accident is to take care of your health and receive the medical treatment you need. Then, it is time to talk to an experienced construction accident attorney who would be able to handle everything legal for you.