Although a wide range of federal and state regulations have been implemented to ensure that construction sites are safe, construction accidents remain far too common in California and throughout the United States. Sadly, thousands of construction workers and innocent passersby are injured and killed in accidents every year.
Construction accidents have the potential to lead to devastating, life-altering injuries. Victims need to be able to access the maximum available compensation so that they pay their medical bills and provide financial support for their family. Unfortunately, getting compensation from private insurance companies or through the state’s workers’ compensation program can be challenging.
At GJEL Accident Attorneys, our California construction accident lawyers are strong advocates for construction accident victims. Our law firm has experience in fighting for the rights and interests of people who were severely injured in construction accidents. If you or your loved one was injured in a construction accident, you need to take immediate action. For free legal guidance, please call us today at 1-866-290-1656. Will review your case, explain your rights and your options to you, and help you take action.
Construction Accident Statistics
Each year, more than 150,000 construction accidents are reported across the country. While some of the accidents are minor or moderate, many are very serious. Unfortunately, when construction accidents do occur the consequences can be downright catastrophic. The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reports that an average of approximately 1,100 construction workers die each year as the result of construction site accidents. To put this number into some perspective, this means that more than 20 percent of all job-related deaths in the United States occur in the construction industry — this despite the fact that only around 5 percent of full-time American workers are in construction.
Sadly, there is some evidence that safety standards may be deteriorating in the construction industry. In recent years, the number of construction site injuries have been on the rise. According to data from the California Department of Industrial Relations, nearly 400 workers died while on the job in the state in 2015 — a significant increase compared to previous years that was driven largely by a rise in workplace fatalities within the construction industry.
The Most Common Types of Construction Accidents
Modern construction sites are deeply complex. Accidents can come in a wide range of different forms, and they involve many different parties. Indeed, at most major construction sites, there are many different things going on at the same time. There may be potentially dangerous equipment or hazardous materials being used concurrently all around the site. If proper safety precautions are not taken by construction companies and worksite managers, severe injuries can occur. For reference, some of the most common construction accidents include:
- Crane accidents;
- Scaffolding accidents
- Fall accidents;
- People being struck by falling objects;
- Nail gun accidents;
- Compressed gas accidents;
- Defective and dangerous machinery accidents;
- Mechanical risks due to machinery components;
- Slip, trip and fall accidents;
- Trenching and excavation accidents;
- Chemical exposures;
- Welding accidents;
- Construction site explosions; and
- Transportation accidents, including truck accidents and car accidents.
The Most Common Construction Accident Injuries
In some ways, there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ construction injury. As construction accidents come in a wide array of different forms, they can produce many types of injuries. Construction accident injuries vary dramatically, both in their kind and in their severity. Some examples of construction accident injuries that our legal team can assist plaintiffs with include:
- Deep lacerations;
- Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs);
- Broken bones;
- Crush injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Back and neck injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs),
- Chemical burns;
- Exposure to toxic substances;
- Amputations; and
- Other catastrophic injuries.
Of course, as was mentioned previously, construction accidents can result in fatalities. From vehicle collisions and falls to explosions and trench collapses, many different construction accidents have the potential to be deadly. In these cases, the close family members of the victim may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim or to receive death benefits through California’s workers’ compensation program. These are very complex cases. If your family is going through this tragic circumstance, it is imperative that you consult with a qualified construction accident attorney.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Construction Accident in California?
Many different parties can potentially be held legally liable for construction accidents. This is partially because modern day construction sites are more complicated than they used to be in the past. Often, there are many different companies involved in the operation. When an accident occurs, it may be the fault of a single contractor or manufacturer, or the liability may be split in multiple ways, possibly among several different companies.
Liability Through No-Fault Workers’ Compensation
For construction workers, their sole claim against their employer must be brought under the California workers’ compensation statute. Under state law, construction companies that work in California are required to carry no-fault workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This is mandatory coverage and every employee in California must be covered by it. When filing a construction accident claim through workers’ compensation, the injured construction worker is not required to prove that their employer did anything wrong in order to be eligible to benefits.
Construction Accidents: Negligence Claims
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation — which will provide coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent disability — is not always sufficient to compensate an injured victim for the full value of their damages. However, there may be other remedies available. Injured construction workers can bring a personal injury lawsuit against parties other than their employer, if those parties caused their accident. This means that other contractors, subcontractors, or a manufacturer may be liable for an injured worker’s damages. In these cases (third-party liability lawsuits) the injured worker must prove fault to recover financial compensation.
Personal Injury Claims: Non-Workers
Finally, there are also cases in which non-workers are injured in construction accidents. This could occur in many different circumstances, from an innocent person being hit by a falling object when walking by a construction site on a sidewalk to a victim in an adjacent building being injured by an explosion.
When this occurs, the non-employee victim has the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault construction company. Once again, these are fault-based legal claims. The plaintiff (the injured victim) must be able to prove that the defendant’s negligent conduct contributed to the accident. With the representation of an experienced Northern California construction site accident lawyer, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your injuries and injury-related expenses.
Compensation Available for Construction Accident Victims
California Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you were injured in a construction accident, and you are considering bringing a workers’ compensation claim, it is crucial that you have a basic understanding of the process. In these cases, fault is not a material issue. You do not need to prove that your employer — or any other party — did anything improper or reckless to cause the construction accident. Instead, you need to be ready to prove the precise extent of your injuries and your damages. Financial compensation should be made available for:
- Medical bills: California’s workers’ compensation law requires insurers to pay for all medical treatment that is “reasonably required to cure or relieve” the adverse effects of the injury or medical condition. This could include emergency room care, surgeries or operations, trips to doctors or specialists, prescription drug costs, medical devices or medical equipment, and much more. Of course, disputes can and do arise over what specific treatment is reasonably required in any given situation.
- Lost wages: Workers’ compensation also provides benefits for lost wages. This compensation is referred to as temporary disability benefits. If your doctor says that you cannot return to work due to your medical condition, tax-free compensation should be made available for two-thirds of your average weekly wage prior to the accident. There is a maximum and minimum benefit that will be adjusted slightly each year based on inflation. For those who can only work on a limited schedule, partial temporary disability benefits may be awarded.
- Permanent impairment: Finally, injured California construction workers can also seek workers’ compensation benefits for permanent disability. If you or your family member sustained a permanent physical impairment as a result of the construction accident, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced California work injury lawyer. Insurers are often aggressive when handling permanent disability claims. You need legal representation who can help you get maximum compensation.
Construction Accident Injury Lawsuit
If you were injured in a construction accident caused by the negligence of any company other than your employer, you should speak to a lawyer about filing a third party liability claim. Even if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it generally is in your interest to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible third party company. The reason for this is that California workers’ compensation will typically not offer you full financial relief for your losses — especially if you sustained particularly severe injuries. Additional compensation could be made available through a personal injury lawsuit. In a third party liability construction accident claim, you may be eligible to recover money damages for;
- Ambulance fees;
- Emergency room care;
- All other medical bills;
- Medical equipment;
- Pharmaceutical drugs;
- Physical rehabilitation;
- Lost wages;
- Diminished earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Long-term disability;
- Scarring or disfigurement;
- Loss of life enjoyment; and
- The wrongful death of a family member.
Notably, workers’ compensation makes it almost impossible to get fair financial relief for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering or disfigurement. If you suffered a considerable amount of pain in the accident, or if you sustained a disfiguring injury, it is crucial that you sit down with an experienced California construction accident injury lawyer who can help you explore all of your available legal options.
How a California Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help
At GJEL Accident Attorneys, our California construction accident lawyers are committed to providing injured victims and their family members the very best legal representation. Our track record of success cannot be disputed — we have obtained recoveries in 99 percent of our total personal injury cases and we have helped victims more than $950,000,000 in financial compensation. We understand how important it is to make sure that our clients obtain the maximum available recovery. When you work with our law firm, you should be confident knowing that our construction accident lawyers will:
- Conduct a free, comprehensive review of your construction accident claim;
- Listen you your story, answer your questions, and help you understand your rights and options;
- Carefully investigate your case, gathering and assembling all relevant evidence;
- Work directly with doctors and other medical experts to ensure that you get the best treatment and that your medical damages are properly documented;
- Take action to identify all defendants that may bear liability, and use legal tools such as subpoenas to recover additional evidence;
- Negotiate with defendants and insurance companies; and
- Take your case to court, to make sure that you get the full and fair financial compensation that you deserve.
Our California personal injury lawyers handle all construction accident injury claims on a contingency fee basis. When you work with our top-rated construction lawyers, you will never be required to pay any upfront fees or out-of-pocket costs. Nor will we bill you on an hourly basis. Our law firm advance all of the costs need to bring your claim. We only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf.
Were You Injured in a Construction Accident in California?
We can help. At GJEL Accident Attorneys, our California personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling the full range of construction accident claims. If you or your family member was hurt or killed in a construction accident in California, you need professional legal representation.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today by calling 1-866-290-1656 our reaching out to us through our website. We have offices in Oakland, San Jose, Fresno, Hayward, Orinda, Walnut Creek, and in many other communities throughout the state of California.