NEW MEXICO CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT LAWYERS
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Construction sites can be a fertile ground for accidents. In many cases, construction accidents lead to serious, potentially fatal injuries. This article will provide valuable information about construction accidents, including what you should do in the event you are injured in a construction accident, common causes, and how a statute of limitations may affect your claim.
If you have been injured in a construction accident and would like to learn more about your rights, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced New Mexico construction accident lawyers.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT
Knowing how to appropriately respond to a construction accident may help protect not only your health and well-being, but also your legal rights. Listed below are several steps you should take following a construction accident.
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you have been injured in a construction site accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Doing so may put you in a better position to seek compensation for your injuries Symptoms of some injuries may take hours or even days to kick in. Therefore, you should consider seeking medical attention even if an injury is not immediately apparent.
2. Document the Accident
Another important step to take after an accident is to “document the accident” by creating and maintaining a thorough file that contains all important information about the accident and your injuries. Examples of documents and information you should keep include:
- An accident report, if any
- The names and contact information of any witnesses, if any
- A copy of your medical records and bills
- Photographs of the scene of the accident injuries
- Photographs of any injuries
3. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
After you have received medical attention and started the process of documenting your accident, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney. An attorney may be able to provide helpful services and advice regarding your situation. For instance, after an initial consultation, an attorney may begin the process of searching for additional evidence that may be used to strengthen your claim. An attorney may also act as an intermediary between you and insurance companies to ensure that your rights are fully protected.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
COMMON CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS
Zinda Law Group has experience handling many types of construction accident cases. Listed below are some of the most common types of construction accidents.
Hazardous Equipment Accidents
Construction sites are littered with inherently dangerous equipment such as drills, forklifts, saws, and other power tools. Even with proper training and handling, accidents involving dangerous tools can occur.
Thousands of ladder-related accidents and injuries occur at construction sites across the country each year. This type of accident can occur for several reasons, including negligent handling or negligent manufacturing. Taking proper precautions, such as thoroughly inspecting a ladder before use can minimize the risk of sustaining a ladder-related injury.
Crushing accidents are one of the most severe forms of construction accidents. Crushing injuries may include broken bones, lacerations, and even death. Common sources of crushing accidents include heavy equipment, such as construction vehicles or building materials. Crushing accidents may be reduced or prevented by always exercising extreme caution, being hypervigilant, and wearing the proper safety equipment.
Explosion and Fire Accidents
Explosion and fire-related injuries are also very common at construction sites. These accidents can occur for several reasons. Examples include ruptured gas lines, natural gas leaks, or improper storage or handling of combustible materials. These injuries are often severe and can be traumatizing.
The frequent use of power tools such as saws, nail guns, and other bladed objects make cutting accidents a very common form of construction site injury. Although improper handling of equipment is one of the primary causes of cutting accidents, these types of accidents can also occur because a product was defective. In such cases, the manufacturer of the tool can be held liable for injuries resulting from the use of the object.
PREVENTING CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS
Despite the risk that construction sites impose, certain precautions may reduce the risk of a construction accident occurring. Most importantly, you should always adhere to safety procedures and protocols. Individual property managers and contractors must ensure they are complying with laws and regulations. These regulations are implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Following the safety steps and maintaining vigilance while working at a construction site can help prevent the risk of accidents. Some of these regulations include:
- Removing any hazardous objects or materials from the workplace
- Wearing safety equipment
- Creating a hazard communication and education program
- Reading safety manuals
- Being aware of your surroundings
Personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims overlap in many areas. However, there are significant differences between the two. Understanding the similarities and differences between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation may provide valuable insight as to your rights following a construction accident.
One of the major differences between a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim is proving fault. Personal injury claims typically require a victim to establish that another party was at fault, while workers’ compensation claims typically entitle a victim to compensation as long as the injury occurred on the job. In other words, construction accident victims wishing to file a workers’ compensation claim do not carry the burden of proving that another person caused the accident.
With a personal injury lawsuit, a victim may be entitled to receive compensation for damages, including both economic damages (lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical bills, future medical expenses, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.) In contrast, workers’ compensation claims normally only allow for recovery of economic damages. Workers’ compensation may cover lost income in the form of weekly or periodic payments, as opposed to personal injury damages which can be collected in a lump sum.
In most cases, a construction accident victim will not be allowed to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim against the same party. However, there are exceptions. For instance, if a person was injured while on the job and the injury was caused by an unrelated third party, the victim may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with the employer and bring a personal injury claim against the third party. Another exception is when the employer’s conduct was intentional or reckless. In such cases, it may be possible to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim against the employer.
WHO CAN I SUE?
Victims of construction site accidents are typically entitled to workers’ compensation following an accident, regardless of who was the at-fault party was. However, sometimes employers do not carry adequate workers’ compensation insurance. When this is the case, victims may be able to sue their employers outside of workers’ compensation.
A victim wishing to recover the remainder may try to do so by filing a claim against the party that caused the injury. In this way, the victim may be able to receive compensation for losses not covered by workers’ compensation. Listed below are examples of parties who may be responsible for injuries sustained at a construction site.
You can generally not sue your employer for on-the-job injuries. Under the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Act, unless your employer does not carry adequate workers’ comp insurance, or unless they acted intentionally in causing your injuries, you may not bring a private lawsuit. A personal injury attorney may be able to determine whether you should pursue a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury suit.
Manufacturers of Tools/Equipment
The manufacturer or retailer of defective tools or equipment may be subject to liability if it can be established that the defective product caused the injury. For instance, if a person was injured by a power saw with a poorly designed on/off switch, the manufacturer or seller of the power saw may be held legally responsible for the injury if the injury was caused by the defective parts.
Read More: New Mexico Product Liability Lawyers
Owners of the property where the construction site is located may be subject to premises liability if the conditions of the site were unreasonably dangerous.
Contractors or Subcontractors
Construction sites are typically composed of a mix of employees and specialists working for different employers. If a person who does not work for your employer causes your injury, you may be able to sue that individual or the company that employs the individual.
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
The law imposes time limits that restrict a personal injury victim’s ability to pursue legal action.
These time limits, also referred to as “statutes of limitations,” regulate when a person can bring a lawsuit. A person who fails to file a claim within the statute of limitations will not be allowed to pursue legal action at all.
New Mexico has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims and a one-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims. An experienced construction accident attorney may help you determine when you must file your claim. A lawyer may also analyze the facts of your case and provide advice regarding your best options moving forward.
TRUST THE NEW MEXICO LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
After a construction accident, you may not be sure where to turn. The experienced New Mexico construction accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group are dedicated to helping our clients seek compensation for their injuries and get their lives back on track. We believe victims should not have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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