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Construction sites are perhaps one of the most dangerous places to work. Even if there are safety measures in place, accidents are always possible. If you are a construction worker, you should know that your employer has a duty to keep your workplace safe and that you may have legal recourse in the case of an injury.
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury from a construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Albuquerque construction accident lawyers.
CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENT STATISTICS
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were 1,008 construction fatalities in the private sector in 2018. The top four causes of construction worker fatalities were falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and being caught in or crushed by equipment or large objects.
For a free legal consultation with a construction accidents lawyer serving Albuquerque, call 800-863-5312
MAJOR CAUSES OF INJURY ON CONSTRUCTION SITES
- Slip and falls
- Vehicle collisions
- Being hit by moving objects
- Being caught by machinery
- Injury by a coworker
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TYPES OF INJURIES FROM CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS
PREVENTING CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS
There are many ways to lower the risk of a construction accident. Below is a list of some of these ways.
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Providing and Maintaining a Guardrail
Falls are the most common cause of construction worker injuries and deaths. Employers can prevent falls by making sure that there are guardrails in place and making sure that they are well-maintained.
Read More: Scaffolding Injury Lawyers
Clear Potential Hazards from Walkways
Wet or messy walkways are a safety hazard. Because slip and falls are also a major cause of construction worker injuries, employers should make sure walkways are dry and debris-free.
Construction tools range from handheld drills to cranes. Any of these tools can cause severe injury if they happen to malfunction. It is important that employers make sure that construction equipment – especially those that are heavy and vehicular – are checked frequently to make sure they do not malfunction when in use.
Construction workers work in a hazardous environment. Employers should provide safety training for all construction employees.
Post Safety Signs
Safety signs can be an efficient way to prevent injuries by notifying workers of the potential hazards that may be on the site.
Providing Safety Gear
Hardhats and safety goggles are a must at construction sites. However, these are not the only safety equipment that workers should have. Depending on the dangerousness of the work involved, construction workers may need additional safety gear, like harnesses.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT
If you are a construction worker, know your rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). As a construction worker, you are entitled to the following from your employer:
- Hazard-free workplace
- Safe tools and equipment
- The right to inform the OSHA
- Safety training course
- Access to employee exposure and medical records
- Copies of hazard inspection documents
- Records of work-related injuries and illnesses
If any of these rights have been violated, you should contact the New Mexico OSHA state office through a written complaint. If the OSHA state office believes that you have a reasonable complaint, it will send an inspection team to check for violations.
WHOM MAY I SUE?
Though a construction worker generally may not sue his or her employer if a workers’ compensation system is in place, an exception is made for an employer who acted with intentional or egregious behavior. Certain third parties may be liable as well. Below are some of the parties that may be sued.
Owners of the Construction Site
The property owners of a construction site may be for injuries that occur on the site.
General and Sub-contractors
Contractors and subcontractors must ensure that a construction site is free of reasonable hazards and that construction workers are adhering to OSHA safety protocols and procedures.
Manufacturers of the tools and machinery involved in a construction site may be liable if their products were defective and caused an injury.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT
1. Stop Working
Once you suffer an injury, stop working. Even if the injury seems minor and you feel like you can finish your work, you should not do so as you may only worsen your injury. Furthermore, if you keep working, your workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit may be affected. A claims adjuster may doubt the severity of your injury by pointing out that you kept working even if you were injured.
2. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Whether your injury is minor or severe, you should go visit a doctor right away as you may not know the extent of your injuries until after a thorough examination.
3. Report Your Injury to Your Employer
In New Mexico, you have 15 days from the date of injury to report it to your employer. Look at your employer’s workplace injury policy for more information.
4. Collect Evidence and Gather Witness Information
Even if your employer subscribes to workplace compensation, be sure to always document and collect evidence from the scene of the accident as you may need it to sue other parties.
Witness testimony is also important. If there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get the names and contact information of the witnesses. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies. If you have a camera at the scene of the accident, take some photographs of the scene.
5. Get a Lawyer
Even if your employer subscribes to workplace compensation, you may want to seek counsel. This is because there is always the possibility that your workers’ compensation claim may be denied or the insurance company may offer you an inadequate settlement.
Read More: Albuquerque Workplace Accident Attorneys
COMPENSATION FOR INJURED CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
If you are a constructor worker who gets injured while on duty, you are generally entitled to compensation through workers’ compensation. In New Mexico, workers’ compensation is required for all businesses with three or more employers. When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you will not have to prove that your employer was negligent to collect benefits. You only need to show that you suffered a work-related injury.
Though workers’ compensation benefits may pay your medical bills and compensate for lost wages, you will be unable to file a traditional lawsuit against your employer. However, you may still sue a third-party who may have been responsible for your injury. Workers’ compensation benefits may be temporary or permanent. Benefits are temporary if you can return to work at full or partial capacity. You may be entitled to permanent benefits if your injury causes you to be permanent for the rest of your life.
Note that you have 15 days after a construction injury to notify your employer. After you notify your employer, you have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim.
INJURED AT A CONSTRUCTION SITE BUT NOT A CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYEE?
Construction workers are not the only ones who get injured at construction sites. Passersby can also suffer injuries. For instance, a pedestrian may be hit by falling debris while walking next to a construction site. In such cases, the injured individual should file a claim with the construction company’s liability insurance company.
To prevail on a claim, the injured individual must first prove that the construction company was responsible for causing the injury. This may be difficult if the individual was a trespasser as a construction company has no obligation to protect trespassers. However, even if the individual was a trespasser, if the construction company did not properly block off the construction site, the company may still be liable for the individual’s injury.
DO YOU NEED A LAWYER IF YOU WERE INJURED IN A CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT?
Because a construction site injury can involve a large number of parties, the litigation involved can be complex. If you decide to file a lawsuit or handle a claim on your own, you may not know where to start. An experienced construction accident lawyer may help by building your case from the ground up.
In general, an experienced lawyer may gather records related to your claim. These records include medical bills and insurance policy information. Such records may help the lawyer understand the extent of your injury and build a case for your compensation.
Next, the lawyer may investigate the accident to gather more evidence. Perhaps there is surveillance footage of the construction site or witnesses who saw the accident occur. After the investigation is complete, the lawyer may negotiate with the opposing party and try to reach a settlement. If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, the lawyer may represent you at trial.
TYPES OF COMPENSATION PROVIDED FOR CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT VICTIMS
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- Property damage
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case
CONTACT AN ALBUQUERQUE CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT LAWYER
The experienced Albuquerque attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.