Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places to be in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a single year, an estimated 9 million workers in the construction industry were at risk of fatal and nonfatal injuries.
People can be hurt on construction sites in any number of ways, from being struck by an object to falling to being injured by a dangerous or defective product. In some cases, the injured person will be limited to recovering through the workers’ compensation system. However, if a third party was responsible for your construction site accident, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party with the help of an experienced California personal injury lawyer.
At Kuvara Law, we advocate for the rights of accidents victims, helping them get both compensation and justice. Based in San Rafael, we represent clients throughout Northern California. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
Who Is Liable for a Construction Accident?
There are two main ways that a person or entity (such as a construction company) can be held responsible for a construction accident. First, injured workers may file a workers’ compensation claim. Second, an accident victim may be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, including the construction site owner, a construction company, or a manufacturer of a defective product.
The California Workers’ Compensation system is a way for injured construction workers to obtain coverage for on-the-job accidents and injuries. Compensation benefits may include medical expenses, lost wages, disability pay, and even death benefits. However, in many cases, a workers’ compensation claim is not sufficient to cover the full extent of an individual’s losses.
In some situations, injured workers and other accident victims may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and their insurance company. For workers, these types of claims may be filed against a third party, such as a manufacturer of defective equipment or a subcontractor on the job site. Anyone else – such as a pedestrian who was hit by falling debris from a construction site – can file a claim against the wrongdoer.
In limited cases, injured workers may be able to file a lawsuit against their employer for workplace injuries. Because workers’ comp is considered an exclusive remedy, this can only be done in rare situations, such as:
- The employer physically assaulted the employee;
- The employer fraudulently concealed something that made the injury worse;
- The employee was injured by a product made by their employer, but was not working when hurt; or
- The employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance at the time of the injury.
If you have been injured at a construction site, a skilled California construction accident lawyer can help you determine which type of claim (or claims) you can file. In situations where a worker or another person died as a result of a construction accident, their survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the construction company.
When Can You Sue for a Construction Accident?
In California, personal injury claims are based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure to use the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. Through this type of claim, you may be able to recover money for your medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and more.
In a third-party claim, an injured construction worker can seek compensation for their full range of losses. To do so, they will need to introduce evidence that the construction company, subcontractor, manufacturer, or other party was negligent in some way.
For example, a construction worker suffered broken bones after falling from scaffolding that had been improperly set up by a different contractor on the site. The injured worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that contractor by showing that they failed to adequately secure the scaffolding, which caused their injuries. A skilled California construction accident lawyer will seek out all potentially liable parties in order to ensure that the injured worker gets the full amount of compensation that they are entitled to under the law.
These types of cases can be complicated, and require an understanding of both personal injury law and California workers’ compensation law. If you have been hurt in a construction site accident, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you determine your rights and options for pursuing a claim against the at-fault party.
Common Types of Construction Accidents
Construction site accidents are far too common in the United States, despite federal and state laws like the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) designed to protect workers, passersby, and others. In fact, per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the construction industry remains one of the most dangerous places to work, with an average of 2.8 injuries per 100 workers in 2019. In that same year, 1,102 people died as a result of construction accidents.
By their very nature, construction sites are often complex with different trades working side-by-side to get the job done. On a typical job site, there may be a handful of construction companies and subcontractors working. Dangerous equipment and hazardous materials are common, including nail guns, caustic chemicals, cranes, scaffolding, and more.
The most common types of construction accidents include:
- Falls from high places (such as scaffolding)
- Defective and dangerous machinery and equipment
- Trenching and excavation accidents
- Being struck by objects
- Chemical exposures
- Burns, including from welding and other hot equipment and materials
- Crane accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents, including car and truck accidents
- Slip and falls
- Nail gun accidents
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are four incredibly serious types of construction accidents, known as the “fatal four.” They include falls, electrocution, caught-in, and struck-by accidents. These types of accidents are the deadliest for people in the construction industry.
These accidents can cause a range of injuries, including serious and catastrophic injuries. In some cases, they may even lead to death. Common construction site injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Chemical burns
- Deep lacerations (cuts)
- Crush injuries and internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Spinal cord injuries
If a worker, pedestrian, or anyone else has been hurt on or near a construction site, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This may come in the form of workers’ compensation benefits for employees or a settlement or verdict at trial through a personal injury lawsuit.
Should I Seek Legal Help After a Construction Accident?
Yes. An attorney can help you determine what type of compensation you can seek for your construction injuries. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of a more limited workers’ compensation claim.
A construction accident injury can seriously affect your life. For this reason, it is important to work with a California construction accident attorney who can get you the money that you need to fully recover and move forward with your life. Call the Kuvara Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Is It Worth It to Hire an Injury Lawyer for a Construction Accident?
In most cases, construction accident victims will recover more compensation if they are represented by an attorney, compared to representing themselves in a personal injury lawsuit. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they accomplish that goal by denying or minimizing legitimate claims. A construction accident lawyer will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket – and will only pay a fee if your lawyer recovers compensation for you. Having a lawyer by your side can remove some of the stress of the legal process, and can help to increase the odds that you get justice for your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Construction Accident?
With a few exceptions, the statute of limitations for most California personal injury cases is 2 years. This means that you usually have just 2 years from the date of your accident to file a claim against the negligent parties.
However, if your case involves workers’ compensation, you have a much shorter period of time in which to file a claim. For this reason, it is important to reach out to a California construction accident attorney as soon as possible after being injured. They can help you determine what options are available to you, and advocate for your right to full compensation.
Help for California Injury Victims
Construction accidents happen far too frequently in California. If you have been hurt in or around a construction site, you may not be limited to a workers’ compensation claim. Our legal team will help you determine if you can file a personal injury lawsuit – and help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
The Kuvara Law Firm represents accident victims throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We work hard to help our clients achieve justice, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a California construction accident lawyer, give us a call at 415-479-7070 or fill out our online contact form.