Phoenix Construction Accident Lawyers
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Construction sites present a multitude of risks to workers. Each year thousands of workers are injured in these unpredictable environments, and many are left struggling to recover satisfactory compensation. Worker’s compensation may provide some relief, but it is often insufficient to cover the full cost of recovery.
At Zinda Law Group, we believe no construction accident victim should be forced to navigate their case alone. Our construction injury attorneys in Phoenix have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation—we are here to help. As one of our clients, you will pay nothing unless we win your construction injury case.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT
Construction accidents are often disorienting experiences, and victims often struggle in determining their next steps. Consider taking the following steps if you were hurt on a construction site.
1. Stop Working
Do not continue working if you were injured, for even relatively minor injuries may be exacerbated by further work. Besides, if you do not stop working after being injured, this can be leveraged against you when negotiating with an insurance adjuster. In other words, your continued work may leave room to doubt the severity of your injury.
2. Get Medical Attention
Of course, your wellbeing is the primary concern in any case. In life-threatening cases, immediate medical attention is imperative; however, even in comparatively less severe cases, seeking medical attention is still very important. On one hand, it is your first step toward physical recovery; on the other, the treatment records created by your medical providers will serve as key evidence in your case.
3. Report Your Injury to Your Employer
You should also report your injury to your employer. This puts them on notice of the accident. Further, the report will serve as additional evidence in your case.
4. Collect Evidence and Gather Witness Information
The site of the accident, particularly during the time it took place, is an excellent source of evidence. Because construction sites are dynamic environments, the scene of the accident may change significantly the farther you get from the time it took place; therefore, your notes and footage—photographs, videos, and audio—can significantly impact the viability of your case.
Similarly, witnesses to the accident can be extremely valuable sources evidence; if you did not have an opportunity to gather footage or take notes, perhaps a witness did. Similarly, the cause of the accident may have been visible from their perspective in a way that you might not have had access to. Be sure to identity all witnesses and gather their contact information.
5. Hire a Lawyer
The legal and factual complexity of construction accident cases correlates with the complicated nature of construction sites and the various potential sources of liability. A construction accident attorney can help you organize the facts and navigate the law.
In particular, beware of what you say to insurance companies—including your own—before having your case evaluated by an attorney. Settlement offers are often calculated based on what the insurance company thinks is a likely outcome at trial; rather than offer you something fair, insurance companies often offer you the legal minimum. An attorney can help you understand your rights and ensure that you are being treated fairly.
Remember, any communication you have with an insurance company can be leveraged against you in negotiation. Before speaking to an attorney, do not at any point sign a form or waiver provided by an insurance company or admit fault.
Read more: How to Negotiate With and Insurance Company
Construction Accident Statistics
Construction site accidents are common; the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a total of 195,600 worker injuries in the construction sector in 2018, and according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 1,061 construction workers died on the job in 2019. Construction injury examples range from the relatively minor to the catastrophic. At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience handling various types of construction accidents; among the most common we have handled for Phoenix clients include:
sources of liability
Each personal injury case is unique, and construction accidents involve complexities of their own. Because construction projects are generally collaborative enterprises involving numerous parties, liability from accidents on the construction site can belong to numerous sources—site owners, architects and engineers, independent contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers.
Because of this variability, construction accidents require case-by-case evaluation. If you were injured on a construction site, our experienced construction injury lawyers can evaluate your case and help you strategize a path toward maximum compensation. In establishing liability, key questions include the following:
1. Where did the accident occur?
2. What were the conditions of the accident site?
3. What equipment was involved?
4. Was the equipment used properly?
5. Who had control over the site and equipment at the time of the accident?
6. Who do you work for?
Depending on the facts of your case, there may be multiple sources of liability. Some may be more apparent than others. Therefore, do not discount the potential value of your case before speaking with an attorney.
Routes to recovery
There are several routes to securing compensation in the event you are injured on a construction site in the Phoenix area. First, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation. However, it is worth investigating whether parties other than your employer may be liable; if they are, you can seek compensation by filing a civil claim.
Under Arizona law, employers must secure workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. In Arizona, workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system, which means that injured employees are covered regardless of who caused the job-related accident. So long as the illness or injury is “job-related” and certain other eligibility requirements are met, the injured worker is entitled to receive medical benefits and may receive temporary compensation.
Eligibility is generally broad. However, there are certain limitations to the “no-fault” system. For example, employees are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for “purposely self-inflicted” injuries.
If your employer is insured for worker’s compensation, you are generally not allowed to sue them in the event of a work-related illness or injury—worker’s compensation is the exclusive remedy. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule as well. If any of the following apply, you may file a civil suit against your employer to recover compensation for a work-related injury:
- If the employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance at the time of the injury;
- If the employee rejected workers’ compensation coverage prior to their injury;
- If the employer failed to post a notice advising employees of their right to reject workers’ compensation;
- If the employee was injured through the “willful misconduct” of the employer or a co-worker.
Read more: Construction Workers’ Rights
claims against third parties
Worker’s compensation is, in part, designed to create a systematic and predictable way of distributing compensation for work-related injuries while also avoiding the costliness and uncertainty of civil litigation. This is a primary rationale behind protecting employers from lawsuits seeking compensation when they have worker’s compensation insurance and have followed all of the rules. However, there are other potential routes to compensation.
If a third party was responsible for your accident by way of negligence, you can seek compensation from them by filing a suit. A negligence suit is predicated on the law’s recognition that all individuals owe each other a duty to be behave reasonably in order to avoid causing harm to others; this is commonly phrased as a “duty to use reasonable care.” For example, we all owe each other a duty to use reasonable care when driving a car or operating heavy machinery.
To establish a negligence claim, you must prove four “elements”:
- a duty,
- a breach of that duty,
- causation, and
That is, you must prove that the defendant violated the duty of reasonable care and that their violation was the cause of your injuries. Determining causation generally requires a close look at the facts. However, a common way of establishing this element in construction accident cases is to show that the defendant violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations governing the safe operation of the premises.
Often, accidents on construction sites result from defective products. Defects may be categorized into three forms:
- Design defects, which are inherent to the product,
- Manufacturing defects, which occur during assembly and may be limited to only a few finished products, and
- Defects in marketing, which may be based on improper instructions or a failure to warn of inherent dangers in the products.
A products liability case may be based on a negligence theory, outlined in the foregoing section. Alternatively, it may also be based on a theory of “strict liability” or “breach of warranty of fitness.” Both of these legal theories are designed to protect consumers.
Strict Liability. Strict liability simply means that liability may exist whether the defendant behaved responsibly or not. In a products liability case, injuries caused by a defective product may be compensable regardless of the manufacturer’s or distributor’s behavior or intent. This distinguishes strict liability from negligence in so far as negligence requires that the defendant behaved irresponsibly by breaching their duty of reasonable care.
Warranty of Fitness. When a manufacturer or vendor puts a product on the market for sale, it typically comes with a warranty guaranteeing that the product is fit and safe to use for its advertised purpose. For example, when a contractor buys a nail gun, it comes with the implicit understanding that the gun is safe when used according to its instructions. A violation of this generalized warranty of fitness may also lead to liability.
Read more: Products Liability
OUR CONSTRUCTION Injury LAWYERS in Phoenix CAN HELP
In addition to recovering physically, construction workers who have been hurt on the job often struggle to recover the financial compensation they deserve. If you were injured on a construction site, you may be entitled to additional compensation beyond the worker’s compensation offered by your employer.
At Zinda Law Group, we understand that the legal processes for recovering satisfactory compensation can be daunting. We believe that no victim of a construction accident should face the process without excellent legal representation, and we pride ourselves in providing that representation. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help.
Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our experienced construction accident attorneys in Phoenix. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.