You might not know what to do or who to call when a construction accident occurs. But time is vital when you are hurt in a construction accident, so knowing what to do is the difference between winning and losing your case. If you were in a construction accident recently, learn about the necessary steps to take in this article and other related accident information. These steps are essential for filing a workers’ compensation or third-party personal injury lawsuit claim. Then our Schaumburg construction accident lawyer at SJ Injury Law can answer your questions about the next steps.
There is plenty of construction all around Chicago and Illinois. Unfortunately, construction accidents are all too common, with these types happening most often:
Scaffolding and working from heights are often needed on the job. Because you could be tens or hundreds of feet in the air, falls from scaffolding are usually severe and often fatal. It is estimated that scaffolding falls comprise 25% of all deadly falls at construction sites.
Many construction sites are full of equipment, construction materials, and debris. When there are too many things on site, it is easy for workers to slip, trip, or fall. Pedestrians passing by can slip on materials left carelessly on the job site.
There are many severe and fatal electrocution accidents on construction sites every year. Electrocutions could be because of direct contact with a power source, an equipment malfunction, or even a lightning strike. These injuries can cause severe burns, muscle pain, unconsciousness, and sometimes death.
Falling object accidents are another common cause of construction site accidents. You can be severely or fatally injured by falling debris, objects, materials, or equipment. Also, falling items can severely injure construction workers and passers-by if companies do not properly secure the job site.
Construction sites frequently have moving vehicles and equipment, and construction workers can be wedged between or crushed between equipment or objects. Crush injuries are devastating and fatal because the incident can cause shattered bones, organ damage, nerve damage, brain damage, and more. Crush injuries can happen on job sites when the employer does not tell workers about dangerous conditions or fails to train them about how to stay safe around machinery.
Many construction workers can be injured, or killed on site by fires and explosions. These job sites often have gases, chemicals, and many flammable materials that can harm workers. Fires and explosions also may happen when a piece of equipment sparks. These injuries can include severe burns that are extremely painful and sometimes fatal.
Some construction workers are injured in trench collapses. These accidents happen when workers work in deep trenches to install, maintain or inspect electrical cables, or pipelines. If the trench is improperly constructed and or not properly marked with warnings, there can be a fatal cave-in. Also, sometimes passers-by fall into trenches, and the long fall can cause a fatal injury.
Companies also must ensure that workers are given sufficient breaks on long, hot days to stay nourished and hydrated. If construction workers work too long and hard, they can become weak and dehydrated, leading to dangerous health conditions. Or, their weak state can make them inattentive on the job, leading to severe accidents.
If you are injured in a construction accident, time is of the essence. So, ensure that you follow these steps:
The most important step after any construction accident is to get immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately so you or the injured party can get the medical help they need. Construction accidents can be severe; only trained medical personnel should assist or move the injured person. Not moving the injured party is essential if you suspect a serious back or neck injury.
You need to have a doctor check the severity of your injuries no matter how minor you think they are. Some injuries, especially to the head, back, and neck, might not be painful initially. This is not the time to be brave, tough it out and wait a few days to see if you feel better. You need to visit a doctor immediately, get treatment, and have everything recorded in your medical record. These steps ensure your health and the ability to file a workers’ comp claim or third-party lawsuit later.
The next step is to report the accident to your employer. Some workers may not want to report the accident because they are afraid of losing their job or immigration status. There could be fear that the company will retaliate against an injured worker for reporting an accident and safety-related violations.
It is always in your interest to report the accident to your manager or whoever oversees the project. Reporting the accident ensures that the accident will be fully documented, which is essential for your case and for preventing future injuries. Remember to note who you reported the accident to and when. This will be important for filing a legal claim later.
Gather as much evidence as possible from the construction accident scene, including contact information from witnesses. You or another worker should write down the contact information for each person who saw the accident, which you can give to your lawyer later. Your attorney can get the witnesses’ versions of what happened.
You should also take photos of the construction accident scene. Or have a coworker do it. If the accident happened because of unsafe work conditions, take pictures of the area and any defective equipment. You also should have someone take pictures of your injuries, including damage to your construction hat, clothing, or related property.
If you are hurt on the job, you must probably file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. However, you could receive a better case outcome if you have an attorney handle your case. Most attorneys working on such cases do not charge upfront legal fees; they only get paid if you receive benefits.
If you were hurt in a construction accident at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. The state’s workers’ compensation insurance system pays benefits for job-related injuries, regardless of fault for medical costs. It covers most state employees and starts from when you start the job. To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you need to do the following after a job-related construction injury:
Illinois has several types of workers’ compensation benefits. What you receive and how long depends on the severity of the construction accident:
If you file for workers’ comp after an accident, there is a three-day waiting period before receiving benefits. So, if you are hurt, you will get benefits beginning on the fourth day.
After a serious construction accident in the Schaumburg area, the last thing you should do is take on the insurance companies alone. Retaining an experienced injury attorney is essential to maximizing your physical and emotional recovery. Some of the critical tasks your attorney will handle are:
If your accident case involves workers’ compensation, your attorney also can ensure that you get the most benefits possible. Many injured parties who handle their own workers’ comp claim wind up with less money than they could have with an attorney’s help.
Last, your attorney can file a third-party personal lawsuit in the construction accident case if your injuries were caused by someone other than your employer. For instance, if you were hurt at work in a construction accident, your attorney could file suit against the maker of a defective piece of equipment or a negligent maintenance company.
If you were hurt in a construction accident, you should speak to an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible to safeguard your rights. Because construction injuries may involve workers’ compensation, there are deadlines in the statutes that must be closely observed. Contact our Schaumburg construction accident lawyer at SJ Injury Law to help keep everything on track. Call (847) 434-3555.
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