If you recently sustained injuries on a construction site, then you may be able to collect damages for your losses. Call the Phoenix construction accident lawyers at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., at (602) 254-6071 for a free strategic review of your legal options today.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics names construction as one of our nation’s most dangerous occupations each year. Construction sites are inherently dangerous places, both for work and as passersby.
Options for Compensation After a Construction Site Accident
The Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. want you to know your options after a construction site accident in Arizona. Injured construction workers have a couple of different options following an accident:
Workers’ Compensation Claims
Most employees will look to the workers’ compensation system to provide legal recourse following an accident at a construction site. The state of Arizona requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is a no-fault system that allows workers to gain compensation for medical bills and a portion of lost wages. The advantage of the workers’ compensation system is that you won’t have to prove your employer was negligent to collect benefits. On the other hand, it limits your ability to file a personal injury claim against your employer for negligence.
In some instances, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against a third party. Examples include:
- Sustaining an injury after falling through a negligently installed roof. You may have a claim against the subcontractor who installed the roof.
- Using defective equipment, such as a welding torch that malfunctioned, causing severe burns. You may have a defective product claim against the manufacturer of the torch.
- Electrocuting yourself on a negligently installed wire. You may have a third-party claim against the electrician who performed the work.
Liability for Construction Accidents
A construction accident case has many potential liable parties. Most construction jobs involve working with various vendors, subcontractors, suppliers, and other parties that may all potentially impact workplace safety. Ultimately, one or more parties could absorb liability for a construction site injury to a worker or passerby.
When a third party causes a construction accident, an injured employee in Arizona can file for workers’ compensation benefits and still have the option to file a personal injury claim against the third party. When an employee suffers a serious injury due to an employer’s negligence, accepting workers’ compensation benefits prohibits the employee from taking legal action against the employer. However, this is not the case when a third party causes a construction accident.
If an employer’s negligence causes a construction accident in Arizona, the injured party must work with the state’s workers’ compensation system to secure benefits for medical expenses and lost income. The employer could face additional penalties from state or federal oversight agencies for noncompliance or negligence with required safety regulations.
Product manufacturers can also face liability for construction accidents. If a defective product causes an illness or serious injury, the manufacturer is liable for damages under product liability law. The plaintiff’s Phoenix personal injury attorney will need to prove that the product in question was defective and the defect is the main cause of the plaintiff’s damages. Unlike personal injury claims, product liability claims do not require a plaintiff’s attorney to prove a defendant’s negligence. However, some manufacturers will need to prove they were not negligent in the design, development, and manufacturing of the product in question.
Possible Damages in a Construction Accident Case
Recoverable Damages from Workers’ Compensation
When an injured construction worker secures workers’ compensation benefits, he or she receives medical expense coverage from the employer’s insurer and weekly benefits for every week he or she spends recovering from his or her injuries. The amount an employee may receive varies based on average weekly wages and the extent of his or her injuries. It is possible to secure temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and permanent total disability benefits for injuries that prevent the victim from resuming his or her previous position.
Types of Compensation Recoverable in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When a construction accident leads to a lawsuit, a plaintiff can secure several types of compensation from the defendant based on his or her damages. A plaintiff can claim compensation for his or her medical expenses resulting from the incident. Lost income from time spent in recovery or lost future earnings after a permanent disability that interferes with his or her ability to work can also be recovered. If a defendant’s actions caused any damage to the plaintiff’s personal property, the plaintiff can claim repair or replacement costs as damages as well.
Pain and suffering compensation is not available in a workers’ compensation claim. A plaintiff can receive compensation for physical pain, emotional pain and suffering, and psychological anguish following a construction injury in a personal injury lawsuit. If a construction accident involves a third party or product manufacturer, the jury will likely award pain and suffering damages in accordance with state law and take expert witness testimony into account to arrive at an appropriate figure. If you lost a loved one in a construction site accident, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation through a wrongful death suit. Speak with our wrongful death attorneys to learn more about your legal options in Arizona.
Workers’ Compensation and Civil Claims
In Arizona, workers’ compensation exists to ensure injured employees do not suffer needless economic hardship after a workplace injury and to protect employers from civil lawsuits. You cannot file a personal injury claim against an employer in Arizona unless the employer engaged in intentionally harmful or egregiously negligent conduct that directly led to your injury. A workers’ compensation claim will not provide punitive damages. It is possible to receive punitive damages from a civil lawsuit.
Construction Hazards for Non-Workers
Construction sites can also be hazardous for civilians. Passersby may face unique hazards when driving through or walking under construction job sites. Construction companies and all their contractors have a responsibility to make the site reasonably safe for civilians. Failure to do so may, therefore, give rise to a personal injury claim. If you have questions about your unique civilian construction site accident in Arizona, contact us. Our Phoenix construction accident attorneys can help during a free consultation.
The “Fatal Four”
Construction accidents face regulation and investigation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This organization works to assure worker safety and recommend best practices for reducing the risks of injuries on a construction site. OSHA also collects data on construction site accidents and how they happen. The administration states that the most common causes of death and injury in construction occur as part of the “Fatal Four:”
#1 – Falls
Our Phoenix construction accident attorneys know falls are the leading cause of construction site injury, and that they are preventable. Employers have a responsibility to provide adequate fall protection and educate employees about their use. Examples of adequate fall protection include guardrails, harnesses, nets, and warning line systems.
#2 – Being Struck by an Object
Construction sites are home to falling debris and heavy machinery. Struck-by accidents, such as by objects or debris, are the second leading cause of construction-related deaths and injuries.
#3 – Being Caught Between Two Objects
Construction sites often feature trenches and other temporary features to assure drainage and separations. Caught-between accidents, whether it’s heavy machinery or a trench and dangerous equipment, is the third leading cause of injury and death.
#4 – Electrocution
Ungrounded wires can cause electrocutions, as can negligent subcontractor work and inadequate safety training. Electrocutions are the fourth leading cause of construction site injuries and can lead to burns, cardiac arrest, and nerve damage.
Contact Our Phoenix Construction Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one recently experienced an injury on a construction site as an employee or a passerby, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. The construction injury attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. are here to help you recover fair compensation. Contact us today to arrange a free case evaluation with a Phoenix construction accident lawyer.