Navigating your construction site injury
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous workplaces in Massachusetts. There are countless dangerous situations in on a construction project. Not only workers are in danger, individuals walking, or even driving by the worksite can be injured as well. Accidents happen all too often.
Construction site injuries are often serious and sometimes fatal. Negligent operation of heavy equipment, falls, or electrocution are just a few life-threatening events that happen on construction sites. Even a small hand tool falling from height can change someone’s life forever with loss of life, loss of limb, or other permanent disability. The impact of a serious injury extends well beyond the worker to their family and dependents.
If you have been injured, you should promptly report the injury to your supervisor, or if you are a self-employed contractor, the general contractor or landowner. Interviewing witnesses in the immediate aftermath when their memory is fresh may be critical to a legal case–experienced attorneys are trained to ask the most important questions in these situations. It is also imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Delay in medical attention is often used against the injured party at a later date, claiming the injury is faked or not severe. Additionally, the accident should be reported to the appropriate governmental authorities. However, interactions with entities like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, should be handled with care. Legal counsel can help you navigate these meetings.
The law surrounding construction injuries is complex, largely in part because of the complex relationships between the various contractors on the job and myriad ways one can suffer injury. The injury might have been caused by a fellow employee who works with you regularly. It could be the fault of the general contractor, who fails to maintain safe conditions onsite. Frequently injuries are caused by other subcontractor who you’ve not worked before. Moreover, the property owner usually shares responsibility by virtue of ownership.
After you’ve identified the proper defendants, you must determine the correct type of claims to bring against each responsible party. If the responsible party is an employer, worker’s compensation insurance will likely be involved. Workers compensation typically covers medical bills and lost wages but not pain and suffering. The property owner will sometimes be named as a defendant. The action filed against the owner is usually a premises liability claim–that brings the owner’s liability insurer into the matter. Where the injury was caused by someone’s negligent acts, you will not only file suit against that person, you will include their employer. The doctrine of respondeat superior holds employers accountable for the acts of their employees while they are engaged in the course of their work duties. Finally, if the injury is related to a dangerous piece of equipment, the manufacturer of that equipment can be sued under a theory of products liability. Manufacturers are strictly liable for injuries caused by unreasonably dangerous products. New products and equipment subject to a product liability suit are identified all the time.
Construction site lawsuits can continue for long periods of time and require significant amounts of money to handle expenses. Doctors, engineers, and other experts typically charge by the hour, and rates of $300, $400, or even $500 an hour are not unusual. Depending on your case, your legal counsel may advance the costs of these expenses as they are incurred. You should ask about expert witness fees when interviewing attorneys.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the experienced attorneys at Neumann Law Group. We have the knowledge to identify the proper defendants and bring the correct lawsuits to pursue your claim. If you make mistakes at the beginning of the lawsuit, it can dramatically reduce the amount of compensation you’ll be able to recover. We offer free consultations. Call us and we will evaluate your claim free of charge, and if we take your case, you won’t pay an attorney fee unless we win.