Construction sites are dangerous places. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 21% of worker fatalities in 2016 occurred in the construction industry. This means one in every five on-the-job fatalities occurred on a construction site.
OSHA also reports that the majority of construction-related fatalities and injuries are caused by one of the “Fatal Four” accidents, which include falls, struck by objects, electrocutions, and caught-in/between incidents. If you are ever injured in an accident on a construction site, it’s important to know exactly what to do to protect yourself and your rights. Follow these steps:
Seek Medical Attention
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a construction accident. This is true regardless of whether the injury seems serious or not. There are many serious injuries that do not exhibit symptoms right away, so you may mistakenly think you are completely fine. For example, if you sustain a concussion, it’s possible that you will not exhibit any symptoms of the injury right away. However, hours later, you could start to experience dizziness, nausea, headaches, and other common symptoms of concussions. Instead of waiting for symptoms to appear, you should seek medical attention and let a doctor examine your condition right away.
Your condition could worsen over time, which means it could be more difficult for doctors to treat. The sooner you see a medical professional, the better your chances are at making a full recovery from your injuries.
Notify Your Employer
Many construction accidents are covered by workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation laws in Iowa state that injured workers must notify their employer of an accident within 90 days. If you miss this deadline, you could miss your opportunity to recover workers’ compensation benefits. For this reason, it is important to let your employer know what happened immediately after the accident.
If possible, return to the scene of the accident so you can gather evidence. Take photographs of the scene, including any equipment that was involved in the accident. You should also photograph visible injuries and the clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident. In fact, it is recommended that you do not wash the clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident. Keep it in the same condition it is in immediately following the accident so it can be used as evidence. This may seem insignificant, but even a small tear in your clothing could help prove what happened later on in your case.
If there were witnesses, ask for their contact information so you can get in touch with them later if needed. Do not discuss the accident or your injuries with these witnesses–simply ask if they would be willing to provide their contact information. You should also note whether or not there are security cameras aimed in the direction of where the accident occurred.
Keep copies of all of your medical records. If you incur any expenses as a result of your injuries, keep a copy of these receipts as well. For instance, if your doctor prescribes medication for your injuries, hold onto a copy of the receipt so you can keep track of all of your injury-related expenses.
It’s also a good idea for construction accident victims to start a health journal. Get in the habit of making an entry in your journal every morning or evening. Describe the symptoms you are experiencing in as much detail as possible, and include information about how the injuries have affected your daily life. If you have a visible injury, take photos of it regularly to document the recovery. This journal can be used as evidence of your pain and suffering later on in your case.
Contact An Attorney
Next, it is time to get in touch with an attorney who has experience handling construction accident cases. The first thing an attorney will do is investigate the accident to determine why it happened. Identifying the cause of the accident is key to figuring out whether you should file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim. If a third party such as a contractor, property owner, or equipment manufacturer is liable, the injuries are not covered by workers’ compensation. Therefore, the victim would need to file a personal injury claim against the liable party.
For example, if an accident occurred as a result of defective equipment, the manufacturer of the equipment is liable. A contractor could be liable if the accident occurred as a result of their failure to perform safety checks on the construction site. The owner of the property could be responsible if the accident occurred because of their failure to warn the construction company of potential hazards hidden on the property. If the construction company failed to provide you with the proper safety gear, they could be to blame for injuries. Determining who is to blame for your injuries is challenging, but an attorney can help.
Your attorney will focus on recovering compensation for your injuries after liability has been proven. The amount of workers’ compensation that is awarded to victims is limited, so victims typically recover much more in personal injury cases. However, every case is unique. It’s best to talk to your attorney to get a better idea of how much you should expect to recover.
Have you been injured in an accident that occurred on a construction site? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are passionate about helping the injured recover the compensation they deserve. Let our skilled team aggressively fight for compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.