The most recent data from Indiana’s Department of Labor reports that approximately 3,600 construction workers were injured and 14 died on the job in 2016. Although the injury rate has been cut in half over the last decade, construction sites are inherently dangerous places where injuries frequently occur. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that most of the injuries and fatalities in construction come from four common accidents: falls, getting struck by objects, electrocutions, and getting caught in-between objects.
If you have suffered an injury in a construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to one of the experienced construction accident attorneys at The Law Office of William W. Hurst in Indianapolis and learn if you may have a case. Contact us at (317) 636-0808 or online for a free consultation.
Frequently asked questions about construction accidents include:
I was injured while working at a construction site. Can I sue my employer?
In most cases, if you were hurt on the job you cannot sue your employer, even if they were negligent. You may instead need to file a workers’ compensation claim and collect benefits through your employer. However, there are scenarios that might give rise to a personal injury claim against an employer, including:
- An employer’s gross negligence that demonstrated a disregard for safety caused the employee’s injuries.
- An employer has not purchased workers’ compensation insurance.
- An employer has retaliated against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
I was injured visiting a construction site. Who can I sue?
You may have a claim against a property owner or contractors working on the site if their conduct caused your injury. If you have reason to believe that someone intended to harm you or their negligence led to your injury, an experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on the best options for your particular case.
I’m receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Can I still file a lawsuit?
If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits you may be able to file a personal injury claim. However, it may be unlikely that you will be able to sue your employer.
Workers’ compensation benefits only pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage. In cases where a third party’s action was involved in causing the construction accident, an employee might be able to recover the difference in wage. Alternatively, if the employer did not own the construction site, an employee might be able to collect damages from the property owner, another contractor, or another involved third party.
Some construction accidents occur because of faulty machinery, faulty safety gear, or equipment malfunctions. If a design or manufacturing defect caused the accident, or the company failed to warn employees about the dangers of the equipment, an employee may be able to recover damages for their injury. In those cases, an experienced personal injury lawyer can advise on the potential claims against manufacturers, distributors, retailers, or other liable parties.
What if my employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance?
You can verify your employer’s insurance by calling the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana (1-800-824-COMP). Most employers in Indiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, the state makes exceptions for small businesses with a limited number of employees. If your employer does not meet one of the exceptions and failed to have workers’ compensation insurance, they may be subject to both criminal charges and liable for double damages in a successful civil case.
Even when an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, that does not mean an injured employee should be responsible for all of the medical expenses and lost wages caused in a construction accident. A construction accident lawyer who has dealt with workers’ compensation claims can advise on the options available to an individual, depending on their unique circumstances.
What if insurance denied my claim for my construction accident injuries?
Whether liability for your injury falls under workers’ compensation insurance, commercial insurance, or a homeowner’s policy, it is possible that one or more of your claims may be denied. Insurance companies are most often for-profit businesses that maximize their revenue by minimizing their outlay in claims.
Insurance companies may deny claims based on administrative reasons, such as missing paperwork or failure to meet filing deadlines. In workers’ compensation cases, common causes for denial include failure to see an approved doctor or to follow medical instructions for treatment. Insurance companies may also assert preexisting conditions, or an alternative cause of injury in order to deny claims. Sometimes insurance companies simply have the advantage of working with inexperienced claimants, and make reduced settlement offers that do not account for the actual claims.
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you may appeal the decision within two years by filing an Application to the Adjustment of the Claim. Hiring a lawyer with experience with insurance companies can be an effective way to improve the insurance claims process, and the ultimate results.
What damages can I recover from a construction accident?
Damages depend on the severity and extent of injuries. The most common damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If your construction accident happened at your place of employment and you are collecting workers compensation benefits, you may only recover medical expenses that haven’t already been paid by the insurance carrier, and lost wages that haven’t already been replaced by benefits. However, a permanent disability or catastrophic injury may demand a settlement for future medical costs and lost earning capacity as well.
Hire a Skilled Construction Accident Lawyer in Indianapolis
Regardless of whether your injuries were sustained on a construction site while working or while visiting, you might be able to find relief for your economic and non-economic losses and stress.
Whether you were injured in a construction accident as an employee or a visitor, you may be able to find relief for your losses. Speak to one of the personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of William W. Hurst and learn if we may be able to help. Contact us today at (317) 636-0808 or online for a free consultation.