Construction sites are packed with hazards. You’re working with power tools and sometimes standing in high places or down in a trench. For these reasons and many more, on-the-job injuries are common among construction workers. Many accidents on construction sites are serious and involve workers getting badly hurt. In these cases, there are always going to be issues relating to high medical bills and lost income.
Although your employer should have workers’ compensation insurance to cover your losses, you may not necessarily fully understand your benefits and what’s available to you. If a third party is at fault, you’ll have questions about where the money is going to come from. In almost all situations, your best source of unbiased information about your legal options would be a workplace injury law firm with attorneys who deal in workers’ compensation claims.
When to Seek Legal Advice After a Construction Accident
Unless your injury was minor and you expect to recover and get back to work quickly, you should consider speaking with a construction accident lawyer. Serious injuries produce serious financial damages and could impact your ability to work in construction in the future.
The financial stakes are high for construction workers who’ve suffered:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Eye injury
- Hearing loss
- Wrongful death
Legal representation is also appropriate when you suspect that a third party caused your accident or when you feel your employer was negligent. This is a common situation because you’re often interacting with vendors and other contracted companies at a work site. You may need to sue the third party instead of relying on your employer’s workers’ compensation.
You may also want the help of a construction accident lawyer if your employer gives you a hard time filing for benefits. The employer may be trying to avoid claims or hiding the fact that no insurance is available.
You might be told that you can’t file for benefits because you’re an independent contractor and not an employee. A lawyer could look at the facts to see if you have been misclassified as a contractor instead of a W-2 employee.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Pay For?
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance typically pays for construction accident injuries. This insurance system is not based on fault. You generally do not need to prove that anyone did anything wrong to collect benefits. However, as part of this claims system, you mostly lose the right to sue your employer after an accident.
Depending on the extent of your injury and how long you’re unable to work, the insurance policy pays for medical care and lost wages. North Carolina law states that the insurer should cover your medical expenses to the extent necessary to relieve pain, help you towards a full recovery, or limit disability as much as possible.
You may receive temporary wage benefits for the time that you are off the job during your recovery. If you suffer a permanent disability, then you may qualify for ongoing payments based on how a physician rated your loss of function. The dollar amount of temporary and permanent wage benefits is based on your average weekly wage.
Do I Need a Construction Accident Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Although you cannot sue your employer, unless intentional acts led to your injury, you may still benefit from legal representation for a workers’ compensation claim. Just because the law entitles you to benefits does not mean that a conflict of interest does not exist between you and the insurer. You have an interest in thorough medical care and accurate wage benefits, and the insurer has an interest in paying you as little as possible.
You may want legal support if:
- You and the insurer dispute what medical treatment you need.
- You need a second medical opinion about your injuries.
- The insurer denies your claim.
- The insurer says you have a pre-existing condition instead of a current workplace injury.
- Your employer has not given you information about the workers’ compensation insurance.
- You are not sure what or who caused the accident.
A lawyer experienced with construction accidents could:
- Explain insurance coverage
- Appeal a denial
- Negotiate for a higher payout
- File a lawsuit against a third party when necessary
Construction Accident Investigation
Figuring out who is at fault for a construction accident is not always a simple task. Your workers’ compensation insurer will not want to pay if a third party is responsible, but you will need evidence to bring a claim for damages against another company or individual.
A construction accident lawyer can launch an investigation to determine who should pay for your losses. This effort would include taking pictures, interviewing witnesses, and consulting outside experts. You may need these resources on your side if you have to prove negligence against a large company, like an equipment manufacturer or other company working at the job site.
Get Answers From a Workplace Injury Law Firm
At a minimum, a lawyer can help you meet strict deadlines for applying for workers’ compensation. In more contentious situations, legal representation could uncover evidence of who should pay your damages and why. We recommend you read our article 5 TIPS FOR HIRING A CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENT LAWYER.
When you feel you’re ready to begin with a claim, contact Kellum Law Firm to schedule a free case review. Call 1-800-ACCIDENT 24/7.