Should I Hire a Construction Accident Attorney?
July 5, 2022
Construction sites are inherently dangerous. Large equipment, raw materials, and projects in various stages of completion mean there is always something to watch out for. This means property owners and general contractors have a huge responsibility to keep construction workers safe.
Sadly, year after year, thousands of workers get injured or killed in construction site accidents. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a construction accident, help is available. By hiring a construction accident attorney, you can obtain financial compensation for the injuries, losses, and difficulties you now face.
Yes, You Should, and Here’s Why
As a worker who suffered injuries in a construction accident, you have the right to receive financial compensation. But, unfortunately, you cannot count on automatically receiving the money you deserve. You may need to fight for full (or even partial) payment, and it’s not a fight you can handle on your own.
Hiring a construction accident lawyer is the most reliable way to get the money owed to you. Here’s an explanation of what a lawyer can do.
A Lawyer Can Ensure You Get Your Full Workers’ Comp Benefits
As a construction worker, workers’ compensation insurance paid for by your employer most likely covers you. Workers’ comp is a form of no-fault insurance. In most cases, it pays benefits to injured construction workers no matter who caused a construction accident, and even if the accident was partially or totally a worker’s fault.
Workers’ comp gives you the financial support you need to heal from your construction accident injuries and return to work.
Standard workers’ comp benefits include:
- Medical benefits that pay for all necessary and reasonable medical treatments related to a construction accident injury, including costs of emergency care, hospitalization, doctor visits, surgeries, medication, and physical therapy.
- Wage replacement benefits that pay a portion of your regular wages for the time that your construction accident injury keeps you out of work.
- Permanent disability (PD) or permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits, which replace a portion of your income on a long-term basis or pay you a single lump sum if the construction accident injury you suffered leaves you partially or completely disabled in a way that interferes with your ability to work.
- Vocational/retraining benefits that pay for training in a new field if your construction accident injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job, but leave you able to perform other jobs for which you need training.
- Death benefits that pay for medical, funeral, burial expenses, and lost income, in the event a construction accident causes a worker’s death.
In a perfect world, workers’ compensation insurance companies would make it easy for injured workers to claim benefits and would quickly pay workers’ claims in full. Unfortunately, this is far from a perfect world. Workers’ comp insurance companies are infamous for making it more difficult than necessary to make a claim and for trying every way to reduce or flat-out deny the amount of a worker’s claim.
And that’s where hiring a construction accident injury attorney comes in. A skilled lawyer can fight back against the workers’ compensation insurance company’s tactics and get you full benefits. A lawyer can prepare and pursue a claim on your behalf, appeal a claim denial, and even take the workers’ comp carrier to court if necessary to get your benefits.
A Lawyer Can Explore and Enforce Your Rights to Additional Compensation
For some workers injured in construction accidents, workers’ comp represents the only form of financial compensation they will receive. Workers’ comp laws often (although not always) prevent injured workers from suing their employers for damages, even if unsafe workplace conditions led to the accident.
But that’s not always the case. Often, someone other than the injured worker, the worker’s employer, or co-worker, what lawyers call a “third party,” also bears at least some of the blame for a construction accident. In those situations, the third party may owe money damages to the injured worker over-and-above any money the injured worker receives from workers’ comp.
Obtaining that extra money usually requires hiring an experienced construction accident attorney to take legal action on your behalf. An attorney can, for example, file a claim against the at-fault third party’s liability insurance policy and/or sue the at-fault third party in court.
Third-party legal actions can result in injured construction workers receiving significant additional compensation. In a third-party claim, you can demand payment for any medical treatments and lost wages not covered by workers’ comp and, even more significantly, for the value of the injured workers’ pain, suffering, and life difficulties (which workers’ comp does not cover at all).
Lawyers can often obtain that compensation by negotiating settlements with the third party or the third party’s insurer. But the best construction accident attorney for you will also have the ability and track record to win a judgment or jury verdict in court if that’s what it takes to get results.
A Lawyer Can Advocate For Your Interests
Construction accidents, especially large-scale ones, sometimes attract the attention of the media, law enforcement, and official investigators. The last thing you need while healing from an injury is to worry about what to say to those parties. But a lawyer can interact with them on your behalf and protect your rights if you need to give a statement.
Construction accidents can also send property owners, developers, contractors, and others with a commercial stake in a project scrambling to protect themselves from financial liability. They may run to a bankruptcy court or start pointing the finger at each other (or you). By hiring a construction accident lawyer, you can ensure that any steps those parties take do not unduly impact your ability to receive financial compensation for the harm you suffered.
A Lawyer Can Serve as Your Advisor
A primary goal of a construction accident attorney is to ensure you make good, well-informed decisions that put you in the most favorable position possible when your case is over. In that sense, a lawyer serves as your trusted advisor—someone who has seen many others confront the same choices you now face and can give sensible, smart advice about how you can achieve your own goals and priorities.
The Risks of Going Another Day Without a Construction Accident Attorney
If you’ve read this far, you know now that there’s no reason not to hire a construction accident attorney. But you still may wonder: Do I really need to hire one today?
We believe that for most people in your position, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Here’s why.
You Have Deadlines to Meet
Your ability to receive workers’ comp or other compensation for your construction accident injuries likely depends on meeting a series of deadlines.
These may include:
- A deadline for notifying your employer of your injury;
- A deadline for seeking medical care;
- A deadline for submitting workers’ comp claim paperwork;
- A deadline for appealing a workers’ comp claim denial;
- A deadline for notifying a third party of a claim against them;
- A deadline for filing a third-party lawsuit or insurance claim.
Deadlines can vary widely from one to the next. You may have just days or weeks after your construction accident to meet some of them, just months to meet others, and just a year or two to meet others. Missing any of these deadlines, however, could put your rights to payment for medical care, lost wages, and other damages in jeopardy and may cause you to lose your rights altogether.
Needless to say, when healing from a serious injury, you should not have to trouble yourself with worrying about a missed deadline. Hiring a construction accident attorney takes care of that issue for you. Among the many services they provide, attorneys take the steps necessary to meet deadlines important to preserving their clients’ rights.
At-Fault Parties and Insurers Want to Take Advantage of You
This is a vulnerable time in your life. The parties at-fault for your construction accident, and the insurance companies that may have an obligation to pay for your injuries, know this and, unfortunately, may try to take advantage of your situation for their benefit.
Insurance companies, in particular, have a reputation for engaging in questionable practices to limit their financial liability for an accident. They sometimes use high-pressure tactics, like calling you and insisting that you must give them a recorded interview or dangling a settlement offer that will expire soon if you do not accept it.
Hiring a lawyer protects you from these shenanigans. An attorney can serve as your representative in all dealings with at-fault parties, their lawyers, and their insurance companies. This ensures that you will not mistakenly give up your rights or cave to undue pressure from a defense lawyer or an insurance adjuster.
Time Takes a Toll on Your Case
To get you the most money and benefits possible, a lawyer must present evidence and legal arguments in your favor. The sooner an attorney can get started preparing your case, the better.
As time passes, it can become increasingly difficult to locate and obtain evidence and convince an insurance company, defense lawyer, judge, or jury that you have a winning case. For example, witnesses tend to have the clearest memories in the days after a construction accident. As time passes, they forget potentially important details, weakening their testimony. Similarly, it’s far easier to collect video and physical evidence of how a construction accident happened in the moments and days afterward than to try to reconstruct that evidence months or years later.
Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible limits the potential harm that the passage of time can do to your rights. Once hired, a lawyer can act quickly to locate evidence, interview witnesses, and put at-fault parties and insurers on notice that you intend to pursue your claim aggressively.
Call an Experienced Construction Accident Attorney Today
Seasoned construction accident injury lawyers understand the challenges you face in the aftermath of getting hurt on a job site. They want to help you and probably can if you give them a chance. But you have to take the first step by reaching out.
So do not wait any longer. You have potentially valuable rights to compensation for your construction accident injury. Contact an experienced construction accident lawyer today for a free consultation to learn more about your case.