Although construction work provides a good living for many workers and their families, it is among the most dangerous of all types of jobs. In 2013, 4,585 workers were killed on the job, and untold numbers were injured. Construction deaths averaged about 88 each week, slightly more than 12 fatalities per day. Most of these could have been prevented if employers and others on the job site meticulously enforced all proper safety regulations. If you or a loved one were severely injured while on the job, speak to a renowned Dallas construction accident attorney to get the right compensation you need.
After suffering an injury in a Dallas construction accident, the first step toward financial recovery is reporting it to your employer. If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you will need to report your accident and injuries within 30 days to qualify for coverage. If you do not discover your injury or illness until later, you will have 30 days from the date of discovery to report it to your employer. Try to report the accident to your employer immediately, while still at the scene. This will create a strong record of when and how the accident happened.
One of the other beginning steps you should take is to seek medical care for your injuries. Prompt medical care will show the workers’ compensation insurance company that your injuries are genuine and that you did everything you could to properly treat them. It can also help you receive the health care you need to recover from serious injuries. Delaying medical treatment, on the other hand, could exacerbate your injuries and give the insurance company a reason to deny your claim to compensation.
If you plan on seeking insurance coverage, the next step will be to file the initial claim form, the Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease, with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Fill out this form completely with information about yourself, your accident and your work-related injury. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, seek counsel from a lawyer as to your next step instead. You may need to initiate a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your damages. A Dallas, TX construction injury lawyer can help you start this process.
A successful workers’ compensation claim after a construction accident could reimburse you for a few different types of out-of-pocket expenses relating to your accident and injuries. In Texas, the workers’ compensation system offers three main types of benefits: income, medical and death.
Income benefits typically replace two-thirds of your average weekly wages earned while you are out of work due to your injuries. Medical benefits reimburse you and your family for all hospital and health care costs associated with your construction accident injury. Death benefits give your family compensation for reasonable funeral and burial costs for a deceased loved one, as well as compensation for his or her future lost earnings. Learn more by consulting our Dallas wrongful death lawyers.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance and you need to file an injury lawsuit in Texas instead, you could receive benefits for 100% of your lost wages, not two-thirds, as well as full medical coverage and wrongful death benefits. In addition, you could qualify for other types of damages, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, legal fees, court costs, property damage repairs, loss of quality of life, loss of consortium and punitive damages. The full value of your personal injury lawsuit could exceed what you may receive from a workers’ compensation claim alone.
The value of your construction accident claim will depend on several factors associated with your unique case. One of the most critical areas is the severity of your injury. Serious, debilitating and catastrophic injuries are generally worth more during insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits than minor injuries. Other determining factors can include your age, income level, medical prognosis, how the injuries impacted your life and how the accident occurred. If someone was grossly negligent in causing your construction accident, for example, you may be eligible for an additional punitive damage award. Speak to one of our Dallas injury attorneys for a free appraisal of your accident claim.
After sustaining serious injuries in a construction accident in Texas, you have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim. You must report your injuries to your employer, however, much sooner – within 30 days. If you wish to file a personal injury claim, you will have two years to file your lawsuit in the state of Texas. Two years is the statute of limitations on all personal injury claims in the state. The clock will start counting down on the day you suffered the accident or noticed the injury, whichever is later.
Like all states, Texas is strict with its statutes of limitations. Missing your deadline to file will almost certainly mean losing any claim you might have had to financial compensation, with a few exceptions. If the person that caused your injuries committed a crime, for example, the courts may give you until the completion of a criminal case to bring your claim. It is important to know your deadline to file and to send your paperwork to the correct party within this timeframe if you wish to have a valid claim.
Texas is the only state in the country that does not make workers’ compensation insurance mandatory for employers. After a work-related accident, you may or may not be eligible for coverage depending on whether your employer has purchased a policy. First, report your injury to your employer to find out the company’s remedy for these situations. If the employer has workers’ comp, your boss should tell you after you report your injuries how to file a claim. If the employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, he or she may tell you to go to the Human Resources department instead. Someone in the department may be able to point you in the right direction for how to receive compensation for your damages.
It may be difficult to find out whether your company offers workers’ compensation benefits if your employer wishes to keep this information unknown to decrease liability. You may need to check the Division of Workers’ Compensation website instead. The website can help you verify whether the company you work for has workers’ compensation insurance. If your company is a subscriber in Texas, you can proceed with a claim. If not, contact an attorney.
If you find out your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance to cover your losses, work with a Dallas construction injury lawyer to discuss a potential personal injury lawsuit instead. It may be more difficult to obtain compensation since you or your personal injury lawyer will need to prove someone else’s negligence for the accident, but you could receive greater financial recovery than a workers’ comp claim. A personal injury attorney in Dallas from the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. can help you take the first steps toward bringing a civil tort action.
The most catastrophic of the non-fatal injuries that occur in construction include traumatic brain injury, paralysis resulting from spinal cord damage, crush injuries, amputations, and burns. These devastating injuries often cause permanent disability and a radically diminished quality of life. Other injuries, such as fractures, concussions, lacerations, facial injuries, and puncture wounds are also extremely disruptive, painful, and costly, often keeping the victim out of work for months.
In many cases, the injured worker is the primary breadwinner for the family, so the negative impact of the death or injury is on the family as well as the injury victim.
The Center for Construction Research and Training conducted a study in which they inspected construction sites throughout Texas. They found a substantial number of employment violations occurring consistently at construction sites throughout the state, and discovered that one in every five construction workers who were surveyed had suffered a serious injury on the job.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) sets safety standards designed to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities. OSHA has found that the most common and serious construction accidents that cause the greatest number of serious injuries fall into four categories, which they call “the fatal four:”
OSHA has established safety standards designed to prevent these accidents and attempts to inspect construction sites with the intention of enforcing them. But with only a couple thousand inspectors covering eight million worksites, their effectiveness is limited.
If another company or individual at the site besides your employer was in some way responsible for your injury, you may sometimes hold them accountable for your damages, for example:
When you or a family member has suffered a construction accident injury anywhere in Texas, the law firm of attorney Aaron Herbert is a best bet for legal representation in the Dallas area. For the best chance at receiving compensation for all of your damages, come and talk to us about what happened to you. We will investigate the facts and circumstances and leave no stone unturned in trying to identify a means for you to get everything you deserve.
Aaron Herbert is a Texas Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Specialist with the expertise and resources to help you obtain justice. He has obtained settlements and jury verdicts in favor of thousands of clients in his 14 years of personal injury practice. He has the highest possible AVVO rating—a perfect 10 out of 10—and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Call Herbert Law for a no-cost consultation. We fight to protect your rights, and we give you the personal attention your construction accident case deserves. Time to file is limited, so call now.