Construction Accident FAQs
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous workplaces in America, posing a high risk of injury when safety standards are not followed rigorously. Unfortunately, the companies that own most construction sites and employ construction workers are frequently motivated by profit, so that they may cut corners and risk worker safety in the process. At Matzus Law LLC, we have over 20 years’ worth of experience successfully helping construction accident victims navigate the workers’ compensation system and pursue alternative options for recovering a compensation package that is both fair and fully accounts for all costs associated with your injuries. If you have questions about a construction accident in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Western Pennsylvania, we have answers.
Construction site accidents can occur in any number of ways and the risks vary depending upon the elements present in the specific site. Falls from scaffolding or ladders that are poorly designed or secured can cause significant injury, as can crush injuries that result from vehicle malfunction. Electrocution accidents are also unfortunately common in construction sites because of the potential proximity to powerlines and other exposed electrical equipment. Industrial vehicles, such as cranes, forklifts, tractors, and backhoes can all pose a danger if not properly maintained and operated. Being struck by an object on the construction site is also one of the top types of construction accidents.
In many cases, you will be precluded from pursuing a formal lawsuit against your actual employer—assuming you were a common-law employee and not an independent contractor—because the workers’ compensation system will step in to cover at least a portion of your expenses. Despite this, there are many other parties who may be financially liable, including any contractors or subcontractors involved, the owner of the construction site property, the project developer, engineers and even architects in some cases. Depending upon the specifics of your accident, the manufacturer of a machine or piece of equipment that was defective may be responsible.
First, you should seek immediate medical attention for your injuries and follow all doctor’s orders with respect to the recommended treatment plan. You should also report your injury to your supervisor as soon as possible to protect your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits and prevent future questions regarding the origin of your injuries. Keeping a detailed log that documents what happened, the injuries you have sustained and your entire recovery process generally can be useful. If possible, ask a coworker to take photos of the accident scene if you are physically unable. Finally, you should call an experienced construction site accident lawyer to explore options for making sure you receive full compensation for your injuries.
The workers’ compensation claims process can be complex, and even if your claim is quickly approved, the benefits you receive may be insufficient to fully cover all of your medical expenses and lost wages. A lawyer can both help you with the claims process and investigate your case to explore alternative avenues to recover compensation that fully covers the cost of your injuries, including from third parties who may be financially responsible outside of the workers’ compensation system.
In general, you will be required to prove that you were injured on the construction site and that a third party’s negligent or reckless actions caused you to sustain those injuries. Medical records, eyewitness testimony and the results of a skilled lawyer’s investigation can all function as evidence establishing the required elements of your claim, including the causal link between the construction accident and the injuries you sustained.
If someone else’s negligent or reckless actions caused your accident and injuries, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit for compensation even if you were a subcontractor on the site. For example, the owner of the construction site has a legal duty to take all steps possible to maintain as safe an environment as possible—any breach of that duty could give rise to your right to sue for compensation.
Yes, if a third party, non-employer’s negligence caused your accident and injuries, you can pursue a lawsuit against that third party even if you receive workers’ compensation benefits.
In some cases, yes. The owner of a construction site has a legal duty to keep the property reasonably safe for everyone—this includes taking precautions to ensure that the activities of the construction site do not cause harm to those who are just passing by. For example, if you were injured by a falling object while walking down the sidewalk near a construction site, you may be able to sue for compensation.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries in a construction accident in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Western Pennsylvania, our reputable and experienced team of construction accident lawyers and support staff are here to help you understand your legal right to compensation. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our office or fill out this online contact form today.
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