Should I Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident?

Should I Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident
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Liability and negligence in a construction accident aren’t always straightforward. What may seem to be an obvious course of action could prevent you from getting fair compensation. Navigating these cases without legal help can be challenging, frustrating, and often ineffective.

Construction accident claims aren’t just about filing for workers’ compensation. They require a thorough legal approach that analyzes all aspects of the case. With an attorney in your corner, recovering damages is comprehensive, professional, and likely successful.

Main Reasons to Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident

You may think you know how to proceed when you sustain injuries in a construction accident. In reality, you could miss important steps and rob yourself of a chance to obtain full compensation.

Legal Knowledge

While you may find information about filing a construction accident claim or lawsuit online, all the nuances make navigating your claim without a lawyer nearly impossible. A seemingly straightforward case could turn into a complex lawsuit that proceeds to trial.

Legal knowledge can play a major role in determining liability, proving negligence, negotiating a fair settlement, and presenting your case in court.

Local Experience

Experienced attorneys know:

  • How to build a strong case
  • How to negotiate with local companies
  • Where to find expert witnesses
  • How local insurance companies and judges make their decisions
  • How to use local laws in your favor

Without such experience, you may make simple mistakes and hurt your chances of recovering damages.

Filing Documents

Each construction accident claim involves a significant amount of paperwork. Without legal assistance, it’s easy to miss deadlines, make errors, or even file the wrong documents. All of this can slow down your case or lead to lower compensation.

The attorney handles all the case-related paperwork. They know when and how to file claims, notify involved parties, request evidence, and much more. By taking care of these tasks, they are contributing to the success of your case.

Higher Compensation

You can usually count on a settlement if you have a strong case and plenty of evidence to support it. However, the size of that settlement depends on many factors, the main one being your ability to negotiate.

Attorneys know how to leverage evidence and the opposing side’s errors to conduct successful negotiations. Without legal assistance, an insurance company or the at-fault party’s attorneys can easily pressure you into making the wrong decision.

Peace of mind

If you’ve sustained injuries in a construction accident, you need time and space to recover from them. Dealing with legal issues during this recovery time can be frustrating.

You would need to miss doctors’ appointments, solve transportation problems, and experience regular stress. All of this can delay your recovery and lead to extra expenses.

By delegating legal matters to a professional, you are gaining valuable time to deal with your injuries or to grieve the death of a loved one.

What a Construction Accident Attorney Can Do

Should I Seek Legal Help After a Construction AccidentIf you are an employee who sustained injuries while working at a construction site, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. For that, you don’t usually need legal assistance.

However, with workers’ compensation, you can only receive reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages. This insurance doesn’t cover property damage and pain and suffering.

While filing a workers’ comp claim and getting compensation is often easy, there are some exceptions:

  • The employer denies the claim.
  • A third party is responsible.

In these cases, or if you aren’t an employee, you would need an attorney to help you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

An experienced construction accident attorney can help you navigate the case and fight for the money you deserve. Here is how.

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Identify Liable Parties

In a construction accident may hold liable:

  • Construction companies – If you aren’t an employee, you can file a claim with the contractor’s insurance company or sue the company directly. If you are an employee, you can only file a workers’ compensation claim unless the employer demonstrates gross negligence.
  • Property owners – The owner has to post signs and warn guests about construction work on the property. They may be liable for your injuries according to premises liability laws if they don’t do that.
  • Another construction worker – Another employee may be liable for the accident if they demonstrate negligence with equipment and cause your injuries. In such cases, you may receive compensation from the employee personally or through vicarious liability.
  • Architects or engineers – Mistakes made by architects or engineers could hinder the quality of the building or structure and cause an accident.
  • Equipment manufacturers – If construction equipment malfunctions and injures an employee, the manufacturer can be responsible under product liability laws.

Identifying liable parties is key to filing a claim and recovering damages. The case becomes complex when more than one party is responsible for your injuries.

An attorney makes sure that you file claims and lawsuits against the right people and companies to have an opportunity to obtain maximum compensation.

Investigate the Accident

Proving negligence, premises liability, or product liability requires the victim to conduct an investigation and collect relevant evidence. An attorney can visit the accident site, speak to eyewitnesses, and find evidence.

Common evidence in a construction accident case is:

  • Photos and videos of the accident site and your injuries (if you didn’t do this on the day of the accident, an attorney can return and do it for you.)
  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Ripped clothing, smashed smartphones, and other evidence of property damage.
  • Broken equipment that caused your injuries
  • Medical bills, prescriptions, and doctors’ reports
  • Expert witness testimony

Not all evidence is created equal. Some of it may harm the outcome of your claim. An experienced attorney knows exactly what evidence you need to build a strong case and helps you obtain it.

Prove Negligence

If you want to recover damages in a personal injury case, you need to prove the at-fault party’s negligence.

To do that, you must show:

  • The liable party’s legal duty of care
  • Breach of the legal duty of care
  • Injuries that occurred due to the breach
  • Damages incurred due to the injuries

An attorney can help you prove the at-fault party’s negligence, which is a vital step to damage recovery.

In Michigan, construction accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths. If your loved one died in a construction accident, an attorney could help you prove negligence and file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Negotiate With the Insurance Company

If you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company (excluding workers’ comp cases), you need to know how to handle negotiations. Insurance companies are highly reluctant to provide fair compensation. Adjusters work hard to minimize their losses.

That’s why negotiations can be tedious, emotionally straining, and slow. If you are still recovering from serious injuries and need money urgently, it’s easy to pressure you into accepting a low settlement. Once you do so, you lose an opportunity to get more money.

If you hire an attorney, they can handle your entire negotiation process. Since legal professionals know exactly what you are entitled to, it’s impossible to lowball them.

When facing an experienced attorney, insurance companies often change their behavior and make better offers.

Take Your Case to Court

While many construction accident cases settle out of court, you may still have to face the judge.

It could happen if:

  • Employer refuses to compensate the employee according to the damages and evidence of the case or denies that injuries are work-related.
  • The at-fault party’s insurance company doesn’t agree to a fair settlement.
  • The liable party is uninsured or underinsured.

Sometimes, construction cases settle while already in court. However, some of them may proceed to a trial.

Court proceedings are complex, time-consuming, and emotionally taxing. An attorney can handle all the paperwork, file documents on time, build a strong case, and present it to the judge and jury.

Michigan law doesn’t require the victim of a construction accident to hire an attorney. However, going to court without one can significantly hinder your chances of obtaining fair compensation.

Provide Valuable Advice and Support

Construction accident cases are rarely quick and easy. You have to make numerous decisions to avoid an unfavorable outcome. An attorney can help you avoid common mistakes. Meanwhile, they can offer emotional support throughout the case.

People recovering from construction site injuries or grieving the loss of a loved one rarely have the emotional resources to handle legal action. A lawyer takes care of all case-related tasks and guides you through tough times.

Responsible parties will do everything possible to avoid a high settlement. Even an employer who has already purchased workers’ compensation insurance is highly reluctant to accept your claim because it will raise the premium.

In many cases, the at-fault party will have an attorney working on its side. If you don’t have experience, trying to outdo legal professionals is a losing battle. That makes hiring an attorney a good idea.

When to Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident

Your road to obtaining fair compensation begins the moment you get hurt. Everything you do can contribute to the success of your case. That makes hiring an attorney as soon as possible a good idea.

Main reasons to hire an attorney quickly:

  • An attorney can conduct an investigation and collect evidence while it’s still fresh.
  • A lawyer can speak to eyewitnesses before their memories fade, or they leave town.
  • A legal professional can keep you from making mistakes that could hinder your case.
  • An attorney can advise against accepting an unreasonable settlement because they know how much your case is worth.

Start legal action before the statute of limitations expires.

Statute of Limitations

Should I Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident?
Grand Rapids Construction Accident Attorney, Thomas R. Behm

The statute of limitations is the time you have to file a lawsuit after a construction accident. Once this period ends, the court will dismiss your case.

For example, in Michigan, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years from your injuries or when you discovered them.

The exceptions include:

  • Mental disability – If the victim cannot understand their rights at the time of the accident, they have a year after recovering to file a claim.
  • Minor – If the victim is a minor at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations comes into effect when they turn 18. However, they will only have a year to file a claim.
  • Absence – If the at-fault party is out of state and you can’t serve them, the statute of limitations is on pause.

You can still hire a lawyer if months have passed since the accident. While it may be harder to prove your case than it would be when handling it from the beginning, an experienced attorney can still do it.

Don’t give up on your chances to obtain compensation. The majority of respectable attorneys offer free case reviews. Take advantage of them to understand your prospects and evaluate your claim.