California Construction Accident Lawyers
The construction industry constitutes a major sector of the United States economy. Despite this important role, construction sites can be an extremely dangerous place, but a California construction accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for construction accident injuries. The construction trades collectively account for more fatalities than any other occupation according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Almost twenty percent of work-related fatalities that occurred in 2012 involved construction workers.
The four most common accidents that cause these fatal injuries include the following:
- Objects striking workers
- Workers caught in or between objects
Construction sites are chaotic work environments with an abundance of hazards including heavy machinery, open trenches, unfinished floors, exposed electrical wires, toxic chemicals and a multitude of other potential sources of danger.
When people are injured on construction projects, their legal rights and remedies vary depending on their reason for being on the worksite or in the vicinity. If you are a passerby or visitor to the construction site, you have the right to bring a personal injury claim for damages like you would if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident. Construction sites are dynamic and rapidly changing environments where the entities and environment are in constant flux. Injured construction workers should seek legal advice as soon as practical before critical evidence disappears.
Remedies under California’s Workers’ Compensation Statute
If you are an employee who is injured on a construction site, the situation is complicated because you must navigate the procedures and requirements of California’s workers’ compensation laws. In most cases, the workers’ compensation system constitutes an exclusive remedy against your employer for on the job injuries.
The California workers’ compensation system offers a good news-bad news scenario for injured construction workers. The system is designed to provide an efficient “no-fault” basis for providing medical care and financial support to injured workers. This means that you are entitled to compensation for your work-related injuries even if your negligence causes the accident. The no-fault aspect of this system for compensating injured workers means that you do not need to file a lawsuit and prove the negligence of your employer.
Unfortunately, the financial compensation available under the workers compensation system tends to be far more limited than those available in a personal injury lawsuit. The benefits that can be sought in the workers’ compensation system include:
Medical Care: An injured worker’ is entitled to all hospital and medical benefits reasonably necessary to cure or relieve the effects of the workplace injury. These benefits even include reimbursement for mileage at fifty cents per mile for your travel to doctor’s appointments.
Benefits for Temporary Disability: If you are hospitalized or forced to take at least three days off work, you qualify for temporary disability payments during your period of disability. These payments are equal to two-thirds your average weekly earnings up to a certain maximum depending on your date of injury. The calculation of this form of benefits can be confusing, but an experienced construction injury attorney at Reeves Law Group can help you determine the weekly benefit payments you will receive.
Benefits for Permanent Disability: If you suffer any form of permanent injury or impairment, you qualify for permanent disability benefits. The calculation of this type of benefits is based on a complex formula that assigns an amount based your percentage of disability and increases or reduces the amount based on your age, occupation and injured body part.
Dual Process for Seeking Financial Compensation: Third-Party Personal Injury Claims
While the benefits described above will ease the financial burden of an injury suffered in a construction accident, they often pale in comparison to personal injury damages. Unlike a workers’ compensation case, you can recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, punitive damages and emotional distress. These types of damages, which are referred to as “general damages,” can constitute the most significant component of a personal injury settlement or verdict.
While workers generally cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer for an on-the-job injury, they can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a third party. Potential third-party defendants might include property owners, equipment rental companies, sub-contractors, manufacturers of defective equipment, general contractors, and others.
Because construction projects are characterized by rapid change, an injured worker should seek legal advice promptly, so critical evidence can be preserved. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, an injured construction worker who pursues a third-party personal injury lawsuit must prove the negligence of the third party.
When our California personal injury lawyers represent injured construction workers, we conduct a thorough investigation to identify viable defendants, negligent conduct and/or defective equipment. This investigation typically entails inspection of the construction site, review of safety records, interviewing witnesses and collection of other relevant evidence. Our attorneys work with experts in the construction industry when developing a litigation strategy for our clients.
Common Types of California Construction Accidents
Because The Reeves Law Group has been representing injured construction workers for decades, we have the experience to handle claims covering the full range of construction accidents. Some common types of construction accidents include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Crane accidents
- Improper use of tools
- Accidents involving falling objects
- Welding accidents
- Open trenches/trench collapses
- Structure collapses
- Slip and falls
Contact a California Construction Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured or you have lost a loved one in a construction accident, a California Construction Accident Attorney at the Reeves Law Group can answer your questions and seek the fullest measure of compensation under California law. We invite you to contact us to schedule an immediate free consultation to learn about your rights and remedies.