If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may have suffered injuries and other losses that will negatively impact your entire life. You may not be able to return to work for some time, and you may not even be able to return to the same line of work in the future. At the same time, medical bills may be piling up due to the treatment your injuries require, and you may not know how to pay for them.
If you have been hurt in a construction accident, it is important to know that you have rights. Below, our Baton Rouge construction accident lawyer outlines what these are and how you can obtain the compensation you need.
Determining Liability After a Construction Accident
Filing an accident claim after a construction accident can quickly become complicated. One of the first steps is determining who is liable. If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you may not have to file a claim against the at-fault party. On the other hand, if you are filing a third-party personal injury claim, determining liability becomes much more important. Some of the most common parties liable for a construction accident include:
- Contractors: In most cases, construction sites have one contractor who is responsible for keeping the site organized and making sure work is done. However, there are times when multiple construction companies interact when they work on certain elements of a project. Any negligent action by a contractor, such as failing to ensure workers are using safety equipment, can make them at least partly liable for an accident.
- Subcontractors: Construction companies often hire subcontractors to handle many tasks the company itself does not specialize in, such as doing the electrical work or pouring concrete. Every subcontractor will have their own equipment and responsibilities. If they do not fulfill those responsibilities and someone becomes hurt as a result, the subcontractor can be held liable.
- Equipment providers: There are many specialized tools on construction sites. Construction companies sometimes have their own tools but there are instances in which they must rent them from another company. Any time an equipment provider fails to ensure their equipment is safe and someone is hurt as a result, the provider can be held liable.
- Construction site owners: Construction site owners have a legal duty to ensure the site is as safe as possible and that proper equipment is available. When they fail to fulfill this duty, owners can be held liable. Or, if they are also working on an element of a project and act with negligence that causes an accident, the owner can also be held responsible.
Liable parties in construction accidents depend on how the accident happened, the conditions that led to it, and which party was responsible for a specific area of the site. For example, if you suffered a serious injury due to defective equipment, you may have a claim against the provider or manufacturer of the equipment.
Workers’ Compensation Claim vs. Personal Injury Lawsuit
In the majority of cases, construction accidents result in a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation claims are vastly different from personal injury lawsuits. One of the main differences is that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Louisiana. This means you do not have to determine liability or prove someone else was at fault for your accident. You must only show that you were performing employment-related duties at the time of your accident and that you sustained injuries as a result.
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you have the right to choose one treating physician. If you visited an emergency room immediately after the accident, the doctor who treats you does not qualify as your one preference. Workers’ compensation will also cover two-thirds of your income while you recover. That coverage can help you manage your medical bills and other expenses. If you suffered a permanent injury, you may receive a one-time payment to cover your medical expenses and other losses.
Most construction accident cases do not result in a personal injury lawsuit. Still, there are times when you can file a lawsuit against the liable party. Unlike in a workers’ compensation claim, you must determine and prove liability in a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if your employer did not take adequate safety precautions, such as failing to comply with OSHA standards, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Or, if another party on the site caused your accident and is not connected to your employer, you may also have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
The laws governing workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits are vastly different. There are different deadlines to meet and different elements of proof. Before filing either claim, it is important to speak to a Baton Rouge construction accident lawyer who can advise on the circumstances surrounding your case.
Damages Available in Personal Injury Claims
The damages, or financial compensation, available in personal injury lawsuits are also quite different from workers’ compensation benefits. You can claim the full amount of medical expenses you incurred due to the accident, as well as all of your lost income. Additionally, you can claim damages for your pain and suffering and any other loss you incurred due to your injuries. For example, you can also include the cost of transportation to and from your doctor’s appointments. An attorney can accurately value your claim and your damages to ensure you receive the full compensation to which you are entitled.
Our Construction Accident Lawyers in Baton Rouge Can Advise You of Your Legal Options
The aftermath of a construction accident is extremely stressful and confusing. At Big River Trial Attorneys, our Baton Rouge construction accident lawyers can determine who is liable for your injuries and will hold them accountable for paying the full and fair compensation that is justly yours. Call us now at (225) 963-9638 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys and to learn more about your legal options.