Why a Construction Site Accident Lawyer May Save Your Livelihood
OSHA reports that there were over 4,300 work related fatalities in 2015 explains a construction site accident lawyer at the F&A injury law firm in Manhattan. Over 20 percent of these were construction related, which means that one of out of every five workers that died in 2015 was a construction worker. Research by OSHA reveals that the four most fatal accidents involve falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects and being caught in or between objects. Construction accident lawyers are the only solution for workers who have been seriously injured on the job.
The Legal Benefits
Hiring an experienced construction accident attorney will help you understand how to start and manage a personal injury lawsuit. They will know how to manage the workers’ compensation claim process and how to reduce the amount and hassle of legal paperwork. Veteran construction accident attorneys will know exactly which legal theories to employ, how to engage health care providers, which industry experts to consult and which methods to use with insurance companies. Hiring a quality lawyer can make the difference between a multimillion dollar settlement and an unsatisfactory ruling with minimal compensation.
When to Call a Construction Accident Lawyer?
It is always best to immediately consult with a construction accident lawyer after the incident. This avoids costly mistakes and helps you to meet the various legal deadlines to file claims and responses. Keep in mind that these time frames will vary from state to state. If an insurance investigator or legal representative of the company contacts you, refer them to the law and do not sign any legal waivers. This is a popular trick among lawyers who try to convince the defendant that their claim will be denied and that the court will not rule in their favor.
What Questions to Ask?
Only the best construction accident attorneys offer free consultations to determine if they can take your case and if they will be a good fit. Before speaking with the prospective lawyer, gather as much detailed facts, statements and information about the injuries, construction accident and medical treatment as possible. Bring the employment contract, employee handbook, safety rules and other paperwork. It is important to have pictures of the scene, injuries, equipment and environment. All of these records will help the construction accident attorney establish the merit of the case, any legal risks and the best first steps to take.
The Employee Training Gap
The first thing a construction accident lawyer may want to see is the company’s safety training materials. Construction companies are notorious for ignoring unpleasant circumstances, failing to create safety policies and not standardizing safety training for new employees. Most construction companies will provide a simple explanation of hazards and problems during the first day of new employee orientation. They probably won’t mention where the first aid kid, fire extinguisher and eye wash station are located. The definitely will not share the Lock Out/Tag Out (LO/TO) and hazardous communication (HAZCOM) policies with new hires.
Always Save Company Paperwork
After a serious accident occurs, OSHA, lawyers and the state’s occupational safety department will all demand copies of the safety procedures in an attempt to establish negligence and responsibilities. Some construction companies will create post-accident instructions or policies in order to avoid accountability and outsource the blame to the injured worker. Be sure to keep any copies of safety guidelines or job safety analyses (JSAs) that you receive. A construction accident lawyer will most likely be able to dissect and challenge the validity and accuracy of the company’s vague JSAs and inadequate safety procedures.
Document Unfair Disciplinary Action
Many construction companies engage in unethical practice, such as punishing or terminating employees who are injured on the job. This illegal intimidation tactic is strongly opposed by OSHA and state occupational safety departments. It is important to save any correspondence with the supervisor regarding your work schedule, return to work date and doctor’s release to work details. Document any verbal threats or abuse from management regarding the injury, lawsuit and work schedule. Injured employees who are retaliated against will be assisted by their construction accident lawyer with filing complaints with OSHA, the Department of Labor and the state’s occupational safety division.
Take Note of Personal Protective Equipment
Employers are required by law to provide workers with basic personal protective equipment (PPE) and train them in the proper use and maintenance. OSHA forbids employers from requiring workers to supply their own safety equipment, but so many construction companies force their staff, freelancers and temp workers to supply their own PPE and tools. After a serious injury that involves the lack of PPE usage or available, the construction accident lawyer will most likely be able to prove that the company was negligent in failing to provide proper safety equipment and conduct though hazard assessments.
After serious injuries, OSHA and the state’s occupational safety department may conduct a mandatory, random inspection of the site. This automatically occurs after fatal accidents or incidents involve dismemberment or life threatening harm. There are still many accident scenarios that do not involve apparent physical harm, but do come with lifelong medical and well-being consequences. A construction accident lawyer may use their legal weight and expertise to push for an immediate inspection before the company hides or destroys evidence. If the inspection does occur, they may call in industry experts to photograph, document and uncover dozens of minor issues that point to a total lack of regard to safety.
Anyone who has been seriously injured in a construction related accident should consult with an experienced construction accident attorney. They will have experience assessing claims, preparing for litigation, understanding confusing medical terms and overcoming complicated legal red tape. If you or anyone you know has been injured or harmed in a construction accident, call a construction accident lawyer for a free consultation.